Frequently Asked Questions


My property is in a Flood Zone. What do I need to do to get a project started?
The Town of Marshfield requires a permit for all proposed construction or other development in the Floodplain Overlay District, including new construction or changes to existing buildings, placement of manufactured homes, placement of agricultural facilities, fences, sheds, storage facilities or drilling, mining, paving and any other development that might increase flooding or adversely impact flood risks to other properties, including the alteration of topography (filling or removal or earth).  Anyone involved in the project can complete and submit the application, but we recommend it be completed by the owner or owner's agent. The Floodplain Permit application can be accessed here:

My home has been removed from the Flood Zone by FEMA.  Can I request a letter stating this?
If your building or structure has been removed from the flood zone/flood zone or your flood elevation was reduced by FEMA in the recent map revisions, you may be able to eliminate or decrease the cost of your flood insurance.  The Building Department will provide a letter free of charge confirming the updated status of your building's location or elevation in relation to the Flood Zone.

Where can I find information on permits or violations that have been issued?
You may search here for information on any permits that were issued after 2010: View Data in Public Records Search. An account with OpenGov is required to access specific files and construction documents.  The Building Department also has paper and archived files for Zoning Enforcement and Building Department correspondence and documentation, including permits issued prior to 2010.  To utilize a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, click here.

Is my lot a buildable lot?
Many factors involve making this determination.  It is recommended that you schedule an appointment with the Building Commissioner or seek legal counsel in order to facilitate this determination.

What are the building requirements and setbacks for a particular Zoning District?
See the Table of Dimensional and Density Regulations (TDDR) or Town of Marshfield Zoning Bylaws.  You may also schedule an appointment with the Building Commissioner to discuss your property and what the applicable setbacks and regulations are.  If you need to find out what Zoning District your property is located in, see the Marshfield Zoning Map or the Town of Marshfield GIS site

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 an Accessory Building such as a shed, barn or detached garage?
A shed, barn or detached garage 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.  Please use the Accessory Structure permit for a shed, barn or 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 erect a fence?
A fence over 7' requires a building permit under the State Building Code.  However, a fence is considered a structure under the Marshfield Zoning Bylaw and requires a permit.  Fences located in Flood Zones or within Conservation Commission Jurisdiction may require additional permitting.  It is advisable to place your fence one foot in from your property line to properly maintain your fence and to properly maintain your property without entering onto your abutter's property.

Do I need a permit to install a pool?
You will need a permit to install an in-ground pool, permanent spa or an above ground pool with more than 24" of water. 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, with a Homeowner's Permit. 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.

Can I install plumbing, gas or electrical fixtures in my own home?
You will need a currently licensed and currently insured plumber/gas fitter or electrician to apply for a permit, have a permit issued to them and call for inspections on the work, but you may perform the work under their supervision and permit.

How do I determine what type(s) of work require the contractor(s) that I hire to have certain licenses?
This chart will help you to determine the types of work that require the licenses your contractor should 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

What if my contractor does not have Workers Compensation Insurance or Liability Insurance?
Please be aware that you will be proceeding at your own risk and that you will need to complete a Homeowner's Liability Insurance Waiver Form for that contractor to do business on your property.  Complete the form and have your contractor submit it as an attachment to their permit application.

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 it was previously submitted for a building permit or a zoning decision.  If the property operates on a septic waste disposal system, the Board of Health should have a septic plan.  If we do not have one on file you will need to hire a registered land surveyor to perform a survey of your land.

What is required when I want to demolish a building or structure?
If the building or structure is over 75 years old, it may be of historic importance and will require approval from the Historical Commission with an Application for Historical Commission Demolition Approval that you will submit with your demolition permit application.  Service termination letters will be required from each service provider (Eversource/Verizon/DPW) to the property for electric, gas, water, sewer and telephone/cable.  The Building Inspector will inspect the premises prior to demolition to ensure that there is no danger from animals, asbestos or other hazardous materials that may be displaced or released as a result of the demolition and that the building/structure is safe to demolish.

If I am remodeling my home and in a Flood Zone will I need to elevate the building?
Many factors go into determining whether a project constitutes a "Substantial Improvement" and requires a portion or the entire house to be elevated above the Design Flood Elevation (DFE).  These include the age of the building, the assessed value of the building, an accurate and verifiable cost of improvements, the flood zone the building is located in, any other wetland resource areas the building is in or is a buffer zone to, and what type of soils are present.  It is advisable that you schedule an appointment with the Building Commissioner before you begin to plan any project in the Flood Zone to understand what the requirements for construction will be.

Where can I find out how many and the types of inspections I will need for my project?
The Inspection Schedule for New Construction, Additions and Alterations will give you the information you need to schedule the types of inspections your project requires. This information will be printed on the back of every building permit we issue.  If you have any questions about if an inspection is required, please call first to check with the Building Department.  We would rather perform an unnecessary inspection than miss a necessary one!

How do I schedule an inspection?
To schedule an inspection please call our Building Department office at 781-834-5555 and speak with a staff member.

How do I request my Certificate of Use and Occupancy?
In Marshfield, a certificate of use and occupancy is required for any newly constructed or structurally altered building and for the change in use of an existing building or land to a different classification.  The cost for the residential certificate is $40.00 and the cost for the commercial certificate is $80.00.  If temporary occupancy is required, it must be requested in writing to the Building Commissioner and will only be granted if good cause is shown and all life-safety systems are in place and in good working order.  Temporary occupancy requires a separate occupancy fee.