Do I need to obtain a building permit?

All work to construct, repair, renovate or demolish a structure requires a building permit.  This includes major construction as well as smaller projects, including but not limited to:

  •        Wood/pellet stoves
  •        Vinyl siding
  •        Roof reshingling
  •        Replacement windows
  •        Swimming pools (inground and aboveground)
  •        Sheds of 200 square feet or larger for Residential only

Below is the code pertaining to work not requiring a building permit. It is always best to check with the building department prior to starting any project of which you may be unsure. Also keep in mind just because a building permit is not required other permits or approvals may be required such as electrical, plumbing & gas, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Health and Conservation to name a few.

R105.2 Work Exempt from Permit. Except for activities which may require a permit
pursuant to other laws, and the specialized codes of M.G.L. c. 143, § 96, a building
permit is not required for the following activities:

1. One-story detached accessory structures, provided that the floor area does not
exceed 200 square feet (18.58 m2).
2. Fences not over 7 feet (2134 mm) high.
3. 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.
4. Water tanks supported directly upon grade if the capacity does not exceed
5,000 gallons (18 927 L) and the ratio of height to diameter or width does not
exceed 2 to 1.
5. Sidewalks and driveways.
6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish
7. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep.
8. Swings and other playground equipment (also refer to 521 CMR for
accessibility requirements as applicable)
9. 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
10. Decks not exceeding 200 square feet (18.58 m2) in area, that are not more than
30 inches (762 mm) above grade at any point, are not attached to a dwelling
do not serve the exit door required by Section R311.4.
Proposed 9th Edition of 780 CMR (Residential Volume) 13
11. Greenhouses covered exclusively with plastic film. 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 purpose.