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  • Vern Hatt :: Architectural Designer :: Builder :: Contractor - serving the Lower Cape Cod Towns of Brewster, Chatham, Eastham, Harwich, Orleans, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown since 1980.

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    State of Massachusetts building code considerations  

    The following,  from the State Building Code describes what type of construction requires a permit, what construction documents are required ,what insurance is required and what the responsibilities are of  an owners agent pulling a permit.

    If we are hired as your agent we guarantee all requirements of the State Building Code will be met. This includes permits, plans, documentation, insurance and inspections.

    Call 508-737-7609 for a free consultation and quote.  



    5110.1 Permit Application. It shall be unlawful to

    construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, remove or

    demolish a detached one-and two-family dwelling;

    or to install or alter any equipment for which a

    provision is made or the installation of which is

    regulated by 780 CMR 51.00 through 99.00 without

    first filing a written application with the building

    official and obtaining the required building permit

    and all other required permits therefore.

    5110.2 Temporary Structures and Uses.

    5110.2.1 General. The building official is

    authorized to issue a permit for temporary

    structures and temporary uses. Such permits shall

    be limited as to time of service, but shall not be

    permitted for more than 180 days. The building

    official is authorized to grant extensions for

    demonstrated cause.

    5110.2.2 Conformance. Temporary structures

    and uses shall conform to the structural strength,

    fire safety, means of egress, light, ventilation and

    sanitary requirements of 780 CMR 51.00 through

    99.00 as necessary to ensure the public health,

    safety and general welfare.

    5110.2.3 Termination of Approval. The

    building official is authorized to terminate such

    permit for a temporary structure or use and to

    order the temporary structure or use to be


    5110.3 Exemptions. A building permit is not

    required for the following activities. Such

    exemption, however, shall not exempt the activity

    from any review or permit that may be required

    pursuant to other laws, bylaws, rules and regulations

    of other jurisdictions (e.g., zoning, conservation,


    1. 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 (12 m2).

    2. Fences six feet (1829 mm) in height or less.

    3. Retaining walls that, in the opinion of the

    building official, are not a threat to the public

    safety, health or welfare and which retain less than

    four feet (1220 mm) of unbalanced fill.

    4. Ordinary repairs as defined in 780 CMR

    52.00: Repairs, ordinary shall not include the

    cutting away of any wall, partition or portion

    thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural

    beam, column or other load-bearing support, or

    the removal or change of any required means of

    egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure

    affecting the egress requirements; nor shall

    ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of,

    replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water

    supply, mechanical system, fire protection system,

    energy conservation system or other work

    affecting public health or general safety.

    5. Greenhouses: A building permit or notice to

    the building official is not required for the

    construction of greenhouses covered exclusively

    with plastic film (in accordance with St. 1983,

    c. 671. This exemption does not apply if the

    greenhouse is to be used for large assemblies of

    people or uses other than normally expected for this


    6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting,

    countertops and similar finish work.

    7. Swings and other playground equipment

    accessory to a one- or two-family dwelling.

    8. Window awnings nine square feet (0.8361 m2)

    or less in area supported by an exterior wall.

    5110.4 Form of Application. Applicants shall

    submit requests for building permits only on the

    uniform building permit application form contained

    in Appendix B or on a form that has been approved

    by the BBRS for such purpose. The application for

    a permit shall be accompanied by the required fee as

    prescribed in 780 CMR 5114.

    5110.5 By Whom Application is Made.

    Application for a permit shall be made by the owner

    or lessee of the detached one- or two-family

    dwelling or agent of either. If application is made

    other than by the owner, the written authorization of

    the owner shall accompany the application. Such

    written authorization shall be signed by the owner

    and shall include a statement of ownership and shall

    identify the owner’s authorized agent, or shall grant

    permission to the lessee to apply for the permit. The

    full names and addresses of the owner, lessee,

    applicant and the responsible officers, if the owner

    or lessee is a corporate body, shall be stated in the


    Note: It shall be the responsibility of the registered

    contractor to obtain all permits necessary for work

    covered by M.G.L. c. 142A, Regulation of Home

    Improvement Contractors. An owner who secures

    his or her own permits for such shall be excluded

    from the guaranty fund provisions as defined in

    M.G.L. c. 142A. Refer to Special Regulation

    780CMR 110.R6 and M.G.L. c. 142A for additional

    information regarding the Home Improvement

    Contractor Registration Program.

    5110.6 Recognition of Laws, Rules and

    Regulations. The securing of a building permit by

    the owner, or the owner’s authorized agent, to

    construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, demolish,

    remove, install equipment or change the use or

    occupancy of a detached one- or two-family

    dwelling shall not be construed to relieve or

    otherwise limit the duties and responsibilities of the

    licensed, registered or certified individual or firm

    under the rules and regulations governing the

    issuance of such license registration or certification.

    5110.7 Construction Documents. The application

    for a permit shall be accompanied by not less than

    three sets of construction documents. The building

    official is permitted to waive or modify the

    requirements for filing construction documents when

    the building official determines that the scope of the

    work is of a minor nature. When the quality of the

    materials is essential for conformity to 780 CMR

    51.00 through 99.00, specific information shall be

    given to establish such quality, and 780 CMR 51.00

    through 99.00 shall not be cited, or the term “legal”

    or its equivalent used as a substitute for specific


    When such application for permit includes fire

    protection systems or portions thereof, the building

    official shall cause one set of construction

    documents filed pursuant to 780 CMR 5110.7 to be

    transmitted simultaneously to the head of the local

    fire department for his file, review and approval of

    the fire protection system items specified in

    780 CMR 5313 and/or 780 CMR 93.00 as

    applicable. The head of the local fire department

    shall within ten working days from the date of

    receipt by him, approve or disapprove such

    construction documents. If the head of the local fire

    department disapproves such construction

    documents, he or she shall notify the building

    official (refer to M.G.L. c. 148, § 28A) in writing

    citing the relevant sections of noncompliance with

    780 CMR or the sections of the referenced standards

    of Appendix A. Upon the request of the head of the

    local fire department, the building official may grant

    one or more extensions of time for such review

    provided, however, that the total review by said head

    of the local fire department shall not exceed 30

    calendar days (the same concurrent 30-day period

    afforded building department review). If such

    approval, disapproval or request for extension of

    time is not received by the building official within

    said ten working days, the building official may

    deem the fire protection construction documents

    implicitly approved by the head of the local fire


    Construction documents shall be drawn upon

    suitable material. Electronic media documents are

    permitted to be submitted when approved by the

    building official. Construction documents shall be

    of sufficient clarity to indicate the location, nature

    and extent of the work proposed and show in detail

    that the work will conform to the provisions of

    780 CMR 51.00 through 99.00 and relevant laws,

    ordinances, rules and regulations, as determined by

    the building official.

    At a minimum, construction documents shall

    include the following:

    1. Site plan;

    2. Foundation plan and details (as necessary);

    3. Floor plans (including basement and attic

    levels, if applicable); floor plans shall include

    location of all required fire protection systems and

    heating systems storage areas.

    4. Exterior building elevations;

    5. Framing plans and/or building section(s)

    adequately depicting structural systems;

    6. Schedules, legends and/or details adequately

    depicting doors, windows and related material

    installations; and

    7. Energy conservation information.

    Failure to comply with 780 CMR 5110.7 Items

    through .7 shall result in denial of the building


    5110.7.1 Preparation of Construction

    Documents. In accordance with M.G.L. c. 112, §

    60L and M.G.L. c. 112, §§ 81D through 81T, the

    design of any structural member, building system

    or parts thereof not prescriptively provided for in

    780 CMR 51.00 through 99.00 may require the

    services of a registered design professional. A

    building official may require plans, specifications,

    calculations and/or details of sufficient clarity to

    ensure compliance with the relevant requirements

    of 780 CMR 51.00 through 99.00 and\or relevant

    laws, ordinances, rules and regulations.

    5110.7.2 Information for Construction in Areas

    Prone to Flooding. Construction documents for

    detached one- and two-family dwellings to be

    constructed in flood hazard areas are required to

    be prepared by a registered architect or registered

    professional engineer (collectively referred to

    herein as registered design professionals) and

    shall include:

    1. Delineation of flood hazard areas, floodway

    boundaries, and flood zones, and the design

    flood elevation, as appropriate; and

    2. The elevation of the proposed lowest floor,

    including basement; in areas of shallow

    flooding (AO zones), the height of the

    proposed lowest floor, including basement,

    above the highest adjacent grade.

    5110.7.3 Design. Plans, computations and

    specifications involving new construction,

    alterations, repairs, expansions or additions or

    change in use or occupancy of any detached oneor

    two-family dwelling which are required by the

    building official under 780 CMR 5110 to be

    prepared by or under the supervision of a

    Massachusetts-registered architect or

    Massachusetts-registered professional engineer, as

    applicable, shall bear his or her original signature

    and seal. Said signature and seal shall signify that

    the plans, computations and specifications meet

    the applicable provisions of 780 CMR 51.00

    through 99.00 and all accepted engineering

    practices. A legally recognized professional

    performing work as defined by M.G.L. c. 112,

    § 81R may be exempted from 780 CMR 5110.

    5110.7.4 Site Plan. The construction documents

    submitted with the application for permit shall be

    accompanied by a site plan showing the size and

    location of new construction and existing

    structures on the site and distances from lot lines.

    In the case of demolition, the site plan shall show

    construction to be demolished and the location

    and size of existing structures and construction

    that are to remain on the site or plot.

    5110.8 Amendments to Application. Subject to the

    limitations of 780 CMR 5110.9, amendments to a

    plan, application or other records accompanying the

    same shall be filed prior to the commencement of

    the work for which the amendment to the permit is

    sought or issued. Such amendments shall be deemed

    part of the original application and shall be

    submitted in accordance with 780 CMR 5110.1.

    5110.9 Time Limitation of Application. An

    application for a permit for any proposed work shall

    be deemed to have been abandoned six months after

    the date of filing, unless such application has been

    diligently prosecuted or a permit shall have been issued;

    except that the building official shall grant one

    or more extensions of time for additional periods not

    exceeding 90 days each if there is reasonable cause

    and upon written request by the owner.

    780 CMR 5111 PERMITS

    5111.1 Action on Application. The building

    official shall examine or cause to be examined all

    applications for permits and amendments thereto

    within 30 days after filing thereof. If the application

    or the construction documents do not conform to the

    requirements of 780 CMR 51.00 through 99.00 and

    all pertinent laws under the building official’s

    jurisdiction, the building official shall reject such

    application in writing, stating the reasons therefore.

    If the building official is satisfied that the proposed

    work conforms to the requirements of 780 CMR

    51.00 through 99.00 and all laws and ordinances

    applicable thereto, the building official shall issue a

    permit therefore.

    5111.2 Zoning. In accordance with the provisions

    of M.G.L. c. 40A or St. 1956, c. 665 as amended, no

    permit for the construction, alteration, change of use

    or moving of any detached one-or two-family

    dwelling shall be issued if such detached one- or

    two-family dwelling or use would be in violation of

    any zoning ordinance or bylaw.

    5111.3 Railroad Right-of-way. No permit to build

    a structure of any kind on land formerly used as a

    railroad right-of-way or any property appurtenant

    thereto formerly used by any railroad company in the

    state shall be issued without first obtaining, after

    public hearing, the consent in writing to the issuance

    of such permit from the Secretary of the Executive

    Office of Transportation and Construction, all in

    accordance with M.G.L. c. 40, § 54A.

    5111.4 Water Supply. No permit shall be issued

    for the construction of a detached one- or two-family

    dwelling which would necessitate the use of water

    therein, unless a supply of water is available

    therefore, either from a water system operated by a

    city, town or district, or from a well located on the

    land where the detached one- or two-family dwelling

    is to be constructed, or from a water corporation or

    company, as required by M.G.L. c. 40, § 54.

    5111.5 Debris. As a condition of issuing a permit

    for the demolition, renovation, rehabilitation or other

    alteration of a detached one- or two-family dwelling,

    M.G.L. c. 40, § 54 requires that the debris resulting

    there from shall be disposed of in a properly licensed

    solid waste disposal facility as defined by M.G.L.

    c. 111, § 150A. Signature of the permit applicant,

    date and number of the building permit to be issued

    shall be indicated on a form provided by the building

    department, and attached to the office copy of the

    building permit retained by the building department.

    If the debris will not be disposed of as indicated, the

    holder of the permit shall notify the building official,

    in writing, as to the location where the debris will be


    5111.6 Workers’ Compensation. No permit shall

    be issued to construct, reconstruct, alter or demolish

    a detached one- or two-family dwelling until

    acceptable proof of insurance pursuant to M.G.L.

    c. 152, § 25C(6) has been provided to the building


    5111.7 Hazards to Air Navigation. Application for

    building new structures or adding to existing

    structures within airport approaches as defined in

    M.G.L. c. 90, § 35B and any amendments thereto or

    language substituted therefore, must include a

    certification by the applicant that:

    1. Either a permit from the Massachusetts

    Aeronautics Commission is not required because

    the structure is, or will be:

    (a) In an area subject to airport approach

    regulations adopted pursuant to M.G.L. c. 90,

    §§ 40A through 40I; or

    (b) in an approach to Logan International

    Airport; or

    (c) less than 30 feet (9144 mm) above ground

    level; or

    2. A permit from the Massachusetts Aeronautics

    Commission is required pursuant to M.G.L. c. 90,

    § 35B and a copy of said permit is enclosed with

    the application.

    Applications for permits to build a new structure

    or add to an existing structure requiring the filing of

    a Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration

    (FAA Form 7460-1) with the Federal Aviation

    Administration shall mail a copy of the completed

    FAA Form 7460-1 to the Massachusetts Aeronautic

    Commission within three business days after

    submitting said form to the FAA.

    5111.8 Expiration of Permit. Any permit issued

    shall be deemed abandoned and invalid unless the

    work authorized by it shall have been commenced

    within six months after its issuance; however, for

    cause, and upon written request of the owner, one or

    more extensions of time, for periods not exceeding

    six months each, may be granted in writing by the

    building commissioner or inspector of buildings.

    Work under such a permit in the opinion of the

    building commissioner or inspector of buildings

    must proceed in good faith continuously to

    completion so far as is reasonably practicable under

    the circumstances. It is the sole responsibility of the

    owner to inform, in writing, the building

    commissioner or inspector of buildings of any facts

    which support an extension of time. The building

    commissioner or inspector of buildings has no

    obligation under 780 CMR 5111.8 to seek out

    information which may support an extension of time.

    The owner may not satisfy this requirement by

    informing any other municipal and/or state official

    or department.

    For purposes of 780 CMR 5111.8 any permit

    issued shall not be considered invalid if such

    abandonment or suspension of work is due to a court

    order prohibiting such work as authorized by such

    permit; provided, however, in the opinion of the

    building commissioner or inspector of buildings, the

    person so prohibited by such court order, adequately

    defends such action before the court. Although said

    permit shall remain valid pending final disposition

    by the court, no work shall be performed in violation

    of a valid court order.

    5111.9 Previous Approvals. 780 CMR 51.00

    through 99.00 shall not require changes in the

    construction documents, construction or designated

    use group of a building for which a lawful permit

    has been heretofore issued or otherwise lawfully

    authorized, and the construction of which has been

    actively prosecuted within 180 days after the

    effective date of 780 CMR 51.00 through 99.00 and

    is completed with dispatch.

    5111.10 Signature to Permit. The building

    official’s signature shall be attached to every permit;

    or the building official shall authorize a subordinate

    to affix such signature thereto.

    5111.11 Approved Construction Documents.

    When the building official has determined that the

    proposed construction conforms to the provisions of

    780 CMR 51.00 through 99.00 and other applicable

    laws, bylaws, rules and regulations under his or her

    jurisdiction, the building official shall stamp or

    endorse in writing the three sets of construction

    documents “Approved.” One set of the approved

    construction documents shall be retained by the

    building official, one set shall be forwarded to the

    head of the local fire department (when

    applicable/see 780 CMR 5110.7 and 780 CMR

    5111.8) for purposes of notification and the other set

    shall be kept at the construction site, open to

    inspection of the building official or an authorized

    representative at all reasonable times.

    5111.12 Revocation of Permits. The building

    official shall revoke a permit or approval issued

    under the provisions of 780 CMR 51.00 through

    99.00 in case of any false statement or

    misrepresentation of fact in the application or on the

    plans on which the permit or approval was based

    5111.13 Approval in Part. The building official

    may issue a permit for the construction of

    foundations or any other part of a detached one- or

    two-family dwelling before the construction

    documents for the whole detached one- or

    two-family dwelling have been submitted, provided

    that adequate information and detailed statements

    have been filed complying with all of the pertinent

    requirements of 780 CMR 51.00 through 99.00.

    Work shall be limited to that work approved by the

    partial approval and further work shall proceed only

    when the building permit is amended in accordance

    with 780 CMR 5110.8. The holder of such permit

    for the foundation or other parts of a detached oneor

    two-family dwelling shall proceed at the holder’s

    own risk with the building operation and without

    assurance that a permit for the entire detached oneor

    two-family dwelling will be granted.

    5111.14 Posting of Permit. A true copy of the

    building permit shall be kept on the site of

    operations, open to public inspection during the

    entire time of prosecution of the work and until the

    completion of the same.

    5111.15 Notice of Start. At least 24-hour notice of

    start of work under a building permit shall be given

    to the building official.

    780 CMR 5112 DEMOLITION OR


    5112.1 Service Connections. Before a detached

    one- or two-family dwelling is demolished or

    removed, the owner or agent shall notify all utilities

    having service connections within the structure such

    as water, electric, gas, sewer and other connections.

    A permit to demolish or remove a detached one- or

    two-family dwelling shall not be issued until a

    release is obtained from the utilities, stating that

    their respective service connections and appurtenant

    equipment, such as meters and regulators, have been

    removed or sealed and plugged in a safe manner.

    All debris shall be disposed of in accordance with

    780 CMR 5111.5.

    5112.2 Notice to Adjoining Owners. Only when

    written notice has been given by the applicant to the

    owners of adjoining lots and to the owners of wired

    or other facilities, of which the temporary removal is

    necessitated by the proposed work, shall a permit be

    granted for the removal of a detached one- or

    two-family dwelling.

    5112.3 Lot Regulation. Whenever a detached oneor

    two-family dwelling is demolished or removed,

    the premises shall be maintained free from all unsafe

    or hazardous conditions by the proper regulation of

    the lot, restoration of established grades and the

    erection of the necessary retaining walls and fences

    in accordance with the provisions of 780 CMR 51.00

    through 99.00.


    5113.1 Payment of Fees. A permit shall not be

    issued until the fees prescribed in 780 CMR 5114.0

    have been paid.

    5113.2 Compliance with Code. The permit shall be

    a license to proceed with the work and shall not be

    construed as authority to violate, cancel or set aside

    any of the provisions of 780 CMR 51.00 through

    99.00 or any other law or regulation, except as

    specifically stipulated by modification or legally

    granted variation as described in the application.

    Permits presuming to give authority to violate or

    cancel the provisions of 780 CMR 51.00 through

    99.00 or other ordinances of the jurisdiction shall not

    be valid. The issuance of a permit based on

    construction documents and other data shall not

    prevent the building official from requiring the

    correction of errors in the construction documents

    and other data. The building official is also

    authorized to prevent occupancy or use of a structure

    where in violation of 780 CMR 51.00 through 99.00

    or of any other ordinances of this jurisdiction.

    5113.3 Compliance with Permit. All work shall

    conform to the approved application and the

    approved construction documents for which the

    permit has been issued and to any approved

    amendments to the approved application or the

    approved construction documents.

    5113.4 Compliance with Site Plan. All new work

    shall be located strictly in accordance with the

    approved site plan.


    Vern Hatt :: Architectural Designer :: Builder :: Contractor - serving the Lower Cape Cod Towns of Brewster, Chatham, Eastham, Harwich, Orleans, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown since 1980.
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