Part 1 — Scope and Application
The provisions of this code shall apply to the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal and demolition of every building or structure or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings or structures.
Exception: Detached one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) not more than three stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures shall comply with the International Residential Code.
Exception: Detached one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) not more than three stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures, and residences with five or fewer occupants that are operated or licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services shall comply with 780 CMR One- and Two-family Dwellings.
Note 1. Work regulated by the specialized codes of M.G.L. c. 143, § 96 shall be designed, installed and inspected by individuals authorized to do so in accordance with the specialized codes. However, the impact of work regulated by the specialized codes of M.G.L. c. 143, § 96 and other codes and regulations on work governed by this code shall be subject to inspection by the building official.
Note 2. Work regulated by the Architectural Access Board regulations (521 CMR) shall be enforced by the building official. See M.G.L. c. 22, § 13A.
Note 3. The design and construction requirements of bunkers and magazines for the storage of explosive materials, flammable/combustible liquids and chemical process safety, shall default to the specific requirements of 527 CMR and are not enforceable by the building official but rather by the head of the fire department or his/her designee.
Note 4. Work regulated by the Board of Sheet Metal Regulations shall be enforced by the building official. See M.G.L. c. 13, § 102.
- Less than the required number of means of egress.
- Egress components with insufficient width or so arranged to be unsafe or inadequate, including signage and lighting.
- Unsafe lighting and ventilation.
Part 2 — Administration and Enforcement
Exemptions from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction. Permits shall not be required for the following:
1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet (11 m2).
2. Fences not over 6 feet (1829 mm) high.
3. Oil derricks.
4. Retaining walls that are not over 4 feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge or impounding Class I, II or IIIA liquids.
5. Water tanks supported directly on grade if the capacity does not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not exceed 2:1.
6. Sidewalks and driveways not more than 30 inches (762 mm) above adjacent grade, and not over any basement or story below and are not part of an accessible route.
7. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
8. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery.
9. Prefabricated swimming pools accessory to a Group R-3 occupancy that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep, do not exceed 5,000 gallons (18 925 L) and are installed entirely above ground.
10. Shade cloth structures constructed for nursery or agricultural purposes, not including service systems.
11. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to detached one- and two-family dwellings.
12. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall that do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support of Groups R-3 and U occupancies.
13. Nonfixed and movable fixtures, cases, racks, counters and partitions not over 5 feet 9 inches (1753 mm) in height.
Repairs and maintenance: Minor repair work, including the replacement of lamps or the connection of approved portable electrical equipment to approved permanently installed receptacles.
Radio and television transmitting stations: The provisions of this code shall not apply to electrical equipment used for radio and television transmissions, but do apply to equipment and wiring for a power supply and the installations of towers and antennas.
Temporary testing systems: A permit shall not be required for the installation of any temporary system required for the testing or servicing of electrical equipment or apparatus.
1. Portable heating appliance.
2. Replacement of any minor part that does not alter approval of equipment or make such equipment unsafe.
1. Portable heating appliance.
2. Portable ventilation equipment.
3. Portable cooling unit.
4. Steam, hot or chilled water piping within any heating or cooling equipment regulated by this code.
5. Replacement of any part that does not alter its approval or make it unsafe.
6. Portable evaporative cooler.
7. Self-contained refrigeration system containing 10 pounds (5 kg) or less of refrigerant and actuated by motors of 1 horsepower (746 W) or less.
1. The stopping of leaks in drains, water, soil, waste or vent pipe, provided, however, that if any concealed trap, drain pipe, water, soil, waste or vent pipe becomes defective and it becomes necessary to remove and replace the same with new material, such work shall be considered as new work and a permit shall be obtained and inspection made as provided in this code.
2. The clearing of stoppages or the repairing of leaks in pipes, valves or fixtures and the removal and reinstallation of water closets, provided such repairs do not involve or require the replacement or rearrangement of valves, pipes or fixtures.
- One story detached accessory buildings used as tool or storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 120 square feet.
- Fences six feet in height or less.
- Retaining walls which retain less than four feet of unbalanced fill.
- Ordinary repairs as defined in Chapter 2.00 and 9.00.
- Greenhouses covered exclusively with plastic film intended for agricultural use.
- Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
- Swings and other playground equipment.
To obtain a permit, the applicant shall first file an application therefor in writing on a form furnished by the department of building safety for that purpose. Such application shall:
1. Identify and describe the work to be covered by the permit for which application is made.
2. Describe the land on which the proposed work is to be done by legal description, street address or similar description that will readily identify and definitely locate the proposed building or work.
3. Indicate the use and occupancy for which the proposed work is intended.
4. Be accompanied by construction documents and other information as required in Section 107.
5. State the valuation of the proposed work.
6. Be signed by the applicant, or the applicant’s authorized agent.
7. Give such other data and information as required by the building official.
- Zoning: in accordance with M.G.L. c. 40A or St. 1956, c. 665.
- Railroad Right-of-way: in accordance with M.G.L. c. 40, § 54A.
- Water Supply: in accordance with M.G.L. c. 40, § 54; also refer to DEP regulations 310 CMR 22.00: Drinking Water and/or 310 CMR 36.00: Massachusetts Water Resources Management Program, when applicable.
- Wastewater: in accordance with 310 CMR 15.00: The State Environmental Code, Title 5: Standard Requirements for the Siting, Construction, Inspection, Upgrade and Expansion of On-site Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems and for the Transport and Disposal of Septage , and 314 CMR 3.00: Surface Water Discharge Permit Program, 5.00: Ground Water Discharge Permit Program, 7.00: Sewer System Extension and Connection Permit Program and 20.00: Reclaimed Water Permit Standards Program.
- Debris Removal: in accordance with M.G.L. c. 40, § 54 and M.G.L. c. 111, § 150A; also refer to DEP Regulations 310 CMR 7.09(2) and 310 CMR 7.15, when applicable.
- Workers Compensation Insurance: in accordance with M.G.L. c. 152, § 25C(6).
- Hazards to Air Navigation: in accordance with M.G.L. c. 90, § 35B.
- Identify and describe the work to be covered by the permit for which application is made.
- Describe the land on which the proposed work is to be done by legal description, street address or similar description that will readily identify and definitively locate the proposed building or work.
- Indicate the use and occupancy for which the proposed work is intended. If the work involves a care facility or residence licensed by a State agency, indicate the agency name and appropriate licensing regulation on the permit. For example: Department of Developmental Services, 115 CMR.
- Be accompanied by construction documents and other information as required in section 107. Construction documents shall list any additional building features required by a Massachusetts state agency for its facilities that go beyond the requirements in this code. Any additional building features required by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services shall not result in a change in the classification of a DDS operated or licensed residences for five or fewer occupants and their compliance with the 780 CMR One- and Two-family Dwellings.
- State the valuation of the proposed work. The building official has authority to request from the applicant a detailed substantiation of the valuation.
- Be signed by the applicant and the owner or the applicant and the owner’s authorized agent.
- Give such other data and information as required by the building official in accordance with this code.
- High rise buildings.
- Structures of unusual complexity or design as determined by the BBRS. A building official may apply to the BBRS for such a determination on a specific structure.
Submittal documents consisting of construction documents, statement of special inspections, geotechnical report and other data shall be submitted in two or more sets with each permit application. The construction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the statutes of the jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed. Where special conditions exist, the building official is authorized to require additional construction documents to be prepared by a registered design professional.
Exception: The building official is authorized to waive the submission of construction documents and other data not required to be prepared by a registered design professional if it is found that the nature of the work applied for is such that review of construction documents is not necessary to obtain compliance with this code.
Construction documents for all buildings shall describe the exterior wall envelope in sufficient detail to determine compliance with this code. The construction documents shall provide details of the exterior wall envelope as required, including flashing, intersections with dissimilar materials, corners, end details, control joints, intersections at roof, eaves or parapets, means of drainage, water-resistive membrane and details around openings.
The construction documents shall include manufacturer’s installation instructions that provide supporting documentation that the proposed penetration and opening details described in the construction documents maintain the weather resistance of the exterior wall envelope. The supporting documentation shall fully describe the exterior wall system which was tested, where applicable, as well as the test procedure used.
When it is required that documents be prepared by a registered design professional, the building official shall be authorized to require the owner to engage and designate on the building permit application a registered design professional who shall act as the registered design professional in responsible charge. If the circumstances require, the owner shall designate a substitute registered design professional in responsible charge who shall perform the duties required of the original registered design professional in responsible charge. The building official shall be notified in writing by the owner if the registered design professional in responsible charge is changed or is unable to continue to perform the duties.
The registered design professional in responsible charge shall be responsible for reviewing and coordinating submittal documents prepared by others, including phased and deferred submittal items, for compatibility with the design of the building.
For the purposes of this section, deferred submittals are defined as those portions of the design that are not submitted at the time of the application and that are to be submitted to the building official within a specified period.
Deferral of any submittal items shall have the prior approval of the building official. The registered design professional in responsible charge shall list the deferred submittals on the construction documents for review by the building official.
Documents for deferred submittal items shall be submitted to the registered design professional in responsible charge who shall review them and forward them to the building official with a notation indicating that the deferred submittal documents have been reviewed and found to be in general conformance to the design of the building. The deferred submittal items shall not be installed until the deferred submittal documents have been approved by the building official.
The following structures are exempt from the requirements of this section:
- Any building containing less than 35,000 cubic feet of enclosed space, measured to the exterior surfaces of walls and roofs and to the top of a ground supported floor, or in the case of a crawl space, to the bottom surface of the crawl space. In the case of basement floors or levels, the calculation of enclosed space shall include such spaces. For additions to existing buildings, the volume of enclosed space shall include the entire existing building and all proposed additions.
- Any one- or two-family dwelling or any accessory building thereto.
- Any building used exclusively for agricultural purposes. See Appendix C for occupancy and other limitations.
- Retaining walls less than ten feet in height at all points along the wall as measured from the base of the footing to the top of the wall.
- Review, for conformance to this code and the design concept, shop drawings, samples and other submittals by the contractor in accordance with the requirements of the construction documents.
- Perform the duties for registered design professionals in Chapter 17.
- Be present at intervals appropriate to the stage of construction to become generally familiar with the progress and quality of the work and to determine if the work is being performed in a manner consistent with the construction documents and this code.
- Execution of all work in accordance with the approved construction documents.
- Execution and control of all methods of construction in a safe and satisfactory manner in accordance with all applicable local, state, and federal statutes and regulations.
- Upon completion of the construction, certification in writing to the registered design professional in responsible charge that, to the best of the contractor’s knowledge and belief, construction has been done in substantial accord with section 107.6 and with all pertinent deviations specifically noted. The building official may require a copy of this certification.
Lath and gypsum board inspections shall be made after lathing and gypsum board, interior and exterior, is in place, but before any plastering is applied or gypsum board joints and fasteners are taped and finished.
Exception: Gypsum board that is not part of a fire-resistance-rated assembly or a shear assembly.
Schedule for Periodic Inspection of Existing Buildings
(See Chapters 3 and 4 for complete descriptions of use groups.)
- When appropriate for A-2 uses, the inspection for the Certificate of Inspection should include and be timed to satisfy the requirements of M.G.L. c. 10, § 74.
- Building inspections in this use group may be performed by a qualified third party acceptable to the building official that includes but is not limited to: registered design professional or individuals with qualifications comparable to a building official as per section 103.
- One year for facilities licensed or operated by DMH.
- Prior to issuance of new certificate.
No building or structure shall be used or occupied, and no change in the existing occupancy classification of a building or structure or portion thereof shall be made, until the building official has issued a certificate of occupancy therefor as provided herein. Issuance of a certificate of occupancy shall not be construed as an approval of a violation of the provisions of this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction.
Exception: Certificates of occupancy are not required for work exempt from permits under Section 105.2.
After the building official inspects the building or structure and finds no violations of the provisions of this code or other laws that are enforced by the department of building safety, the building official shall issue a certificate of occupancy that contains the following:
1. The building permit number.
2. The address of the structure.
3. The name and address of the owner.
4. A description of that portion of the structure for which the certificate is issued.
5. A statement that the described portion of the structure has been inspected for compliance with the requirements of this code for the occupancy and division of occupancy and the use for which the proposed occupancy is classified.
6. The name of the building official.
7. The edition of the code under which the permit was issued.
8. The use and occupancy, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 3.
9. The type of construction as defined in Chapter 6.
10. The design occupant load.
11. If an automatic sprinkler system is provided, whether the sprinkler system is required.
12. Any special stipulations and conditions of the building permit.
13. If the facility is licensed by a State agency, the name of the agency and the name and number of any relevant Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) that apply regarding building features.
14. Prior to issuance of certificate of occupancy, the building official shall consult with the head of the fire department.
- Personally, by any person authorized by the building official; or
- By any person authorized to serve civil process by leaving a copy of the order or notice at the responsible party’s last and usual place of business or abode; or
- By sending the party responsible or their agent authorized to accept service of process in the Massachusetts a copy of the order by registered or certified mail return receipt requested, if he is within the Massachusetts; or
- If the responsible party’s last and usual place of business or abode is unknown, by posting a copy of this order or notice in a conspicuous place on or about the premises in violation and by publishing it for at least three out of five consecutive days in one or more newspapers of general circulation wherein the building or premises affected is situated.
- Remove all materials determined by the head of the fire department or building official to be dangerous in case of fire.
- Secure all floors accessible from grade utilizing one of the following methods so long as
such method is approved by the head of the fire department and building official in writing:
a. Secure all window and door openings in accordance with the U.S. Fire Administration, National Arson Prevention Initiative Board Up Procedures (www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/napi4.pdf) continuouslyuntil such time as the building is reoccupied; or
b. Provide 24 hour watchman services, continuously until such time as the building is reoccupied; or
c. Provide a monitored intruder alarm system at the perimeter of all floors accessible from grade, continuously until such time as the building is reoccupied.
Said owner, as the case may be, shall notify the building official that the approved method chosen to secure the building has been incorporated. Said owner shall allow the building official to enter the building for an inspection to ascertain that the building is secured and made safe. Said ownershall allow the head of the fire department to enter the building. The building official shall be supplied with records of maintenance and operation if the provisions of section 116.7.2.b. or c. are used.
- Maintain any existing fire alarms or sprinkler systems unless written permission is obtained from the head of the fire department in accordance with M.G.L. c. 148, § 27A to shut off or disconnect said alarms or systems.
- Maintain utilities unless written permission is obtained from the building official to disconnect said utilities. Permission to disconnect utilities shall not be granted if it will result in inadequate heat to prevent freezing of an automatic sprinkler system or inadequate utilities to maintain any other protection systems.
- The requirements of section 116.7.1. through 4. do not prevent a building official from ordering or taking expeditious, temporarysecuritymeasures in emergency situations pending the completion of the requirements of section 116.7.1. through 4.
Upon refusal or neglect of said ownerto complywith such notice, anybuilding official acting under the authority of section 116.3 or 116.5, shall cause to be secured all window and door openings accessible from grade in accordance with the U.S. Fire Administration, National Arson Prevention Initiative Board-up Procedures or other equivalent procedure approved by the head of the fire department, continuously until such time as the building is reoccupied.
Any building which has been made to conform to the provisions of section 116.7 during vacancy may be reoccupied under its last permitted use and occupancy classification, provided that anysystems which were disconnected or shut down during the period of vacancy are restored to fully functional condition and subject to section 105 and M.G.L. c. 40A. The local building official shall be notified in writing prior to re-occupancy. If said building is changed in use or occupancy or otherwise renovated or altered it shall be subject to the applicable provisions of section 34.