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Yes. Section R105.1 of the 8th Edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code, 780 CMR states that it is unlawful to construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, remove or demolish a detached one or two family dwelling; or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by this code without first filing a written application with the building official and obtaining the required building permit and all other required permits therefore.
Yes. Section R105.1 of 780 CMR would still apply. Even though the scope of work may seem small and simple there are provisions under the Massachusetts State Building Code that apply to this type of work. As an example, if you were going to have your roof re-shingled, s.R907.3(3) of 780 CMR does not allow more than two layers of any type of roofing. If you happen to have two or more layers already on your roof then the old shingles must be removed before you apply the new layer. This, among other things, is what the building official verifies during the permit review process.
The permit process allows the Building Official to review the plans being submitted to ensure that the work meets the minimum standards set forth in the Massachusetts State Building Code and other applicable codes. These codes determine minimum safety standards for all aspects of building construction - fire-rating, structural, living environment, safe egress, plumbing, electrical and mechanical. After reviewing the plans, it is then the job of the inspector to inspect the work being performed to make sure that it was installed in accordance with applicable codes.
People who perform work without the proper permits may install something that does not meet the minimum standards such as a beam to support a floor or install something incorrectly which may cause a fire. Over time, doing work without permits could lead to an unsafe living environment for you, as well as guests that visit your home or perhaps your place of business.
These minimum safety codes ensure: the conservation of energy, the economic well-being of the community by reducing the potential spread of fire, your personal safety in your own home and reasonable assurances for future home buyers that the home that they'll be living in will be safe.
While each project has its own unique traits that may require additional information to be submitted to the building official, typically a building permit application filled out in its entirety up to and including signatures of all parties involved must be filed along with the following additional paperwork for most building permit applications for one and two family dwellings:
Three sets of plans to scale showing scope of work to be performed. In cases involving new dwellings and/or additions (including decks) you will need foundation plans, floor plans identifying the use of each room/space, framing plans showing structural members and spans and elevation plans (to show height of building / structure). Depending on the scope of work additional information may be required at the discretion of the building official. If using steel or engineered lumber then you will be required to provide design calculations from the appropriate professional. In cases involving interior alterations/renovations you will need floor plans showing existing conditions and proposed conditions. Each room/space shall be identified as to what it will be used for (i.e. bedroom, bathroom, study / office, etc.). Framing plans showing structural members and spans (if applicable). Depending on the scope of work additional information may be required at the discretion of the building official. If using steel or engineered lumber then you will be required to provide design calculations from the appropriate professional. If converting inhabitable space to habitable space (i.e. basement or attic conversion) then you will be required to prove that there is sufficient ventilation for new habitable space(s).
If you are building a new house, addition, detached accessory structure, swimming pool and/or deck then you will need a Certified Scaled Plot Plan showing the location of the new structure(s) to scale (i.e. 1 inch = 40 feet, 1 inch = 20 feet, etc.) and how close the new structure(s) are to all property lines. This will allow the zoning enforcement officer to determine if the new structure(s) comply with the zoning bylaws.
Copy of signed contract to verify compliance with Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) requirements. All home improvement contractors registered with the State and who are entering into an agreement with homeowners for work exceeding $1000 (one thousand dollars) must have a written contract.
Contractor's License and Insurance information. In addition to the written information provided in the building permit application, the contractor is required to provide a copy of his/her valid Construction Supervisor's License (CSL), HIC Registration and proof of Worker's Comp. Insurance (if applicable). If the homeowner is acting as the general contractor but is hiring sub-contractors to perform work (i.e. framer, electrician, plumber, etc.) then the homeowner shall provide insurance information of all sub-contractors with the application.
A certified plot plan is a plot plan that has been stamped by a registered land surveyor or civil engineer. A certified plot plan shows the boundaries of your property and where the primary building(s) and other accessory structures are located on the property. They may also show easements for things such as sewer, utilities, right-of-ways, etc. or perhaps wetland boundaries.
The Town of Bedford's zoning bylaws require, among other things, that buildings or accessory structures be setback a certain distance from the property lines depending on what Zoning District your property is in. A certified plot plan is needed to verify that the proposed new building, addition or accessory structure meets the minimum setback requirements under the zoning bylaws. It also may show where your easements, if any, are located so you don't accidentally build within the easement.
For new dwellings, the owner is responsible for hiring a registered land surveyor or civil engineer to perform an instrument survey of the property and certify the location of the new dwelling and any other accessory structures within the boundary lines to make sure they comply with the setback requirements and any other applicable requirements found in the BZBL. For existing dwellings, although the Code Enforcement Office is not required to provide certified plot plans, there may be cases where a certified plot plan can be found in the property file from a previous project. At the discretion of the Building Official, if the certified plot plan is to scale and accurately depicts the current footprint/location of the primary dwelling and all accessory structures then, in some cases, the homeowner may request a copy of the certified plot plan from the file and use it to locate the proposed addition and/or the accessory structure, to scale, on the existing certified plot plan. If there is no certified plot plan found in the property file then the homeowner is responsible for hiring a registered land surveyor or civil engineer to perform an instrument survey of the property and certify the location of the existing dwelling as well as the proposed addition(s) and/or any other accessory structures within the boundary lines to make sure they comply with the setback requirements and any other applicable requirements found in the BZBL.
No. Mortgage inspection plot plans are not known for their accuracy and can have discrepancies of up to several feet. They are some times required by banks to confirm that there is an actual structure on the property that they are holding a mortgage for but not to certify that the structure complies with local zoning bylaws.
Building and electrical permits are based on the fair market value of the work while plumbing and gas permits are based on the number of fixtures/appliances that a contractor would be installing. Other miscellaneous permits have a flat rate fee. The permit fee schedule outlines all of the costs associated with the different types of permits issued by the Code Enforcement Department. If you have further questions regarding the fees then you may contact the Code Enforcement Department during normal business hours.
With regards to electrical, plumbing and gas permits, if the proper documentation has been submitted then a permit is usually issued the next day. However, if these types of permits are associated with a building permit (i.e. a new home, addition, etc.) then we require that the building permit be issued first before issuing the electrical, plumbing and/or gas permits.
With regards to a building permit, it depends on the scope and complexity of the project. It should be noted that under s.R105.3.1 of the 8th Edition State Building Code, the Building Official has up to thirty days to review the application and either issue or deny the permit application; however, in the majority of cases, the Building Official takes much less than the thirty days allowed under law. As a guideline, if the proper documentation is submitted then permits for:
* These time-frames may vary one way or the other depending on the project's complexity, whether or not all of the proper information has been submitted to the Building Official in a timely manner for him to perform a complete code review.
Important Note: If relief/approval from various Boards or Commissions is required (i.e. Conservation Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic District Commission, etc.) then such relief/approval must be granted before a building permit can be issued.
If the Building Official finds someone performing work without the required building permit(s) then he will require them to secure the proper permit(s) through the Code Enforcement Office. The penalty, at the local level, is a triple permit fee assessed to the permit required to correct the matter. If the person responsible for violating the building code does not follow-through on securing the proper permits then the Building Official shall serve a written notice of violation to such person responsible for performing work without a building permit. Under s.R113.4 of the 7th Edition of the Massachusetts State Building Code, 780 CMR, violation of any provision of 780 CMR shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both for each violation. These types of penalties, at the state level, can be assessed by a judge through the criminal court process, if warranted.
Also, failure to secure the proper permits could jeopardize your property insurance policy or the future sale of your property.
The following information must accompany the completed building permit application:
A certified plot plan, to scale, showing the location of the proposed swimming pool, accessory structures (i.e. cabanas, pool shed, etc.) and, if applicable, the location of septic tanks, cesspool and leaching fields. Swimming pools are required to be setback a minimum of ten feet from both side and rear property lines. The swimming pool is also required to be located behind the rearmost point of the dwelling and no closer than ten feet from another building on the same lot (i.e. dwelling, garage, cabana, shed, etc.). It is also required that the location of the fence that will be used to enclose the swimming pool be located on the plot plan as well.
Specifications / plans, to scale, of the swimming pool. These specifications/plans will show, among other things, size, depth, material used to construct pool, diving board location, if applicable, and technical/structural information. With respects to in-ground pools, the plans are stamped by an engineer certifying code compliance. Specifications for aboveground pools are usually found in the pool manufacturer's brochure. If not, the company selling and/or installing the pool should be able to provide this information for you.
Specifications, to scale, of the fence enclosing the pool. The Massachusetts State Building Code has very specific requirements for fences enclosing swimming pools. The specifications should include, among other things, height of fence, spacing of balusters, height of any horizontal/intermediate rails, swing of gate and latching/closing hardware.
Submit signed 'Swimming Pool Enclosure' affidavit.
Building Permit Application must be approved / signed-off by Conservation Administrator. Please note: if the swimming pool is located within wetland boundaries then approval by the Conservation Commission will be required prior to the building permit process moving forward.
Licensed electrician must apply for wiring permit prior to building permit being issued.
For sheds under 200 square feet it is the policy of this office to not require a foundation system given its size and intended use. For these types of sheds you will need to submit a certified plot plan (see below) and a Shed Permit application. For sheds 200 square feet and over the following information must accompany the completed building permit application:
A certified plot plan, to scale, showing the location of the proposed shed/detached garage. Accessory structures of this kind are required to be setback a minimum of ten feet from both side and rear property lines and be located behind the rearmost point of the dwelling (including attached decks) and no closer than ten feet from another building on the same lot.
Specifications/plans, to scale, of the shed / detached garage. If the accessory structure is pre-fabricated then provide the manufacturer's specifications that show what the structure looks like and how its constructed. You will also need to submit the type of foundation system proposed to support the accessory structure (i.e. foundation, footing, etc.). If the accessory structure is going to be constructed by regular framing methods then a set of framing plans must be submitted including the type of foundation/support system you will be using as well as elevation drawings to show the height of the structure.
In most cases, a building permit is pulled by the general contractor and he / she is responsible for calling into the Code Enforcement Department to schedule a building inspection. All inspections require 24 hour notice (a Wednesday inspection requires the contractor to call in on Tuesday) and in most case can be scheduled by the administrative staff by calling 781-275-7446. If there is electrical work and/or plumbing / gas work then the respective contractor responsible for such work is responsible for calling in his/her own inspections. Inspection protocol is outlined on the back of the building permit card and is strictly enforced. If the homeowner secured his/her own permit then they are acting as the general contractor and the same rules apply.
Under the Massachusetts State Building Code, 780 CMR, the owner of a one or two family dwelling is allowed to secure their own building permit, in lieu of a licensed general contractor. In essence, the homeowner becomes the general contractor and is responsible for all related work performed at the property, up to and including ensuring full compliance with all provisions covered under the Massachusetts State Building Code, 780 CMR. All contractors hired by the homeowner are considered sub-contractors and should have the proper insurance otherwise the homeowner may be liable for any injuries incurred on the property through their homeowner's insurance. The homeowner is not allowed to secure permits for electrical work and plumbing/gas work; these permits must be secured by the respective licensed contractor.
Important Note: Owners not using registered contractors or obtaining their own permits cannot receive payment from the Massachusetts guaranty fund as outlined in the Home Improvement Contractor registration program.
Yes. Under s.5.1.14 of the zoning bylaws a temporary permit is required to have a yard sale on your premises. A property owner can have a yard sale for up to two consecutive days however, not more than twice each calendar year for any give premises. For each yard sale a separate permit shall be required. The permit costs $5 and is issued by the Inspector of Buildings through the Code Enforcement Department.
Yes w/conditions. Under Art.39.4, s.2(D) of the sign bylaw, a person having a permitted yard sale can put up four signs not to exceed three square feet each which may be displayed throughout the Town for not more than two consecutive days. These signs must be removed within twelve hours after the sale.
Yes w/conditions. Under s.4.2.9 of the zoning bylaws, the owner of a single-family dwelling can add an accessory apartment to the dwelling with the proper permits provided that the design meets all of the conditions and requirements set forth in s.188.8.131.52. Once you have reviewed the conditions and requirements, you may download the Accessory Apartment Information packet and fill out the accessory apartment checklist to see if your design complies with s.184.108.40.206.
Please be aware that if your design involves the construction of an addition onto your existing dwelling you must make sure that the addition meets the minimum setback distances from your property lines and other applicable zoning requirements otherwise you may have to modify your design or seek relief through the Zoning Board of Appeals. Also, please be aware that your addition may trigger a review/approval by the Conservation Commission if the addition is within a certain distance from wetland boundaries.
In all Residential Districts, the following shall apply to the primary dwelling on the lot:
In all Residential Districts, the following shall apply to all detached accessory structures on the lot:
Accessory structures including garages, sheds, swimming pools, tennis courts and basketball courts shall be located behind the rearmost point of the primary dwelling and at least 10 feet away from the dwelling. (including attached decks).
Yes with conditions. Under s.5.1.3 of the zoning bylaws if you are in a Residential District or have a dwelling in the Limited Business District you can store a boat on your property provided that such boat is not located within the front yard or the minimum side yards. The storage of more than one boat may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit.
Yes with conditions. Under s.5.1.3 of the zoning bylaws if you are in a Residential District or have a dwelling in the Limited Business District you can store a recreational trailer on your property provided that such trailer is not located within the front yard or the minimum side yards. The storage of more than one trailer may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit.
Yes with conditions. Under s.5.1.3 of the zoning bylaws if you are in a Residential District or have a dwelling in the Limited Business District you can store one unregistered vehicle on your property provided that such vehicle is not located within the front yard or the minimum side yards. The storage of more than one vehicle may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit. If you have a legal business in the Limited Business and General Business District the storage of unregistered motor vehicles may be authorized by the Board.
Yes with conditions. Under s.5.1.5 of the zoning bylaws a home occupation business is allowed in all Residential Districts and for dwellings in the Limited Business District. The business, profession or practice can be conducted within the dwelling or within an accessory building as of right provided that the same is conducted by a resident of the dwelling. Other criteria require that no employees or clients come to the premises, the home occupation is secondary to the primary use (residential dwelling) and that no external changes are made which alter the residential character of the premises.
If you wish to have a home occupation with not more than one full-time employee, or his/her equivalent (exclusive of other residents of the dwelling) and/or you would like to have clients come to the premises it may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit.
Note: If you have a contracting or trade business in which you have a commercial vehicle or vehicles please read s.5.1.4 regarding the parking or garaging of commercial vehicles in Residential Districts.
It depends. Under s.5.1.4 of the zoning bylaw, in all Residential Districts you are allowed to garage or park one commercial automobile or one light commercial vehicle (maximum 10,000 pound gross vehicle weight and 135-inch wheel base) on your premises. The parking or garaging of more than one such vehicle or large commercial vehicle may be authorized by the Zoning Board of Appeals by Special Permit.
Town of Bedford10 Mudge WayBedford, MA 01730
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