|Guide To Building Permits Frequently Asked Questions
needs a Building Permit?
can request a Building Permit?
requirements must be met prior to applying for a building permit?
|What are the
steps in applying for a building permit?
|What if the
planned work changes after a building permit has been issued?
the applicant contact with specific questions for a department involved in the
building permit process?
the applicant wants more detailed information about the Massachusetts State
Building Code or the Building Permit process?
|Who needs a building permit
A building permit is required by Section 110.0 of the
Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR). Anyone seeking to construct,
alter, repair, or demolish a structure must first obtain a building permit. The
building permit must be obtained before the start of any work and prominently
posted at the job site. Sign permits and demolition permits are categories of
building permits which are required by the Building Code. Ordinary repairs, as
defined in the Building Code, do not require a building permit.
|A building permit is issued to construction supervisors licensed by the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The licensed construction supervisor is
responsible for being onsite to supervise critical aspects of the construction.
If the licensed construction supervisor designated on the permit application
leaves the project before completion, the construction work must cease and the
Building Department be notified immediately. A new licensed construction
supervisor needs to be designated before construction work can recommence.
|Who can request a Building
|Construction supervisors licensed by the State Board of
Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) are issued building permits, but work
is limited to structures under 35,000 cubic feet in volume.
|As an exception, building permits are issued to homeowners
doing work on one or two unit dwellings where they reside or intend to reside.
When a homeowner receives a building permit, he or she may be liable for
contractors working on the project and will not be eligible for protection
under the provisions of the Homeowners Improvement Contractor Law. For this
reason, it is generally a good idea for building permits to be issued to
licensed construction supervisors or licensed home improvement contractors.
|What requirements must be met prior
to applying for a building permit?
|Zoning Compliance... Contact the
Building Department staff to ensure that the proposed project is in compliance
with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. The owner or the owner's
representative may be required to secure special permits from the Zoning Board
of Appeals or Planning Board, or variances from the ZBOA.
|Protected Structures... Structures which are located in historic districts or neighborhood conservation
districts, designated as landmarks, or subject to preservation restrictions are
protected by the New Bedford Historical Commissioner. Building permits cannot
be issued for these structures until the Commission has issued a Certificate of
Appropriateness, Hardship or Non-applicability for the proposed wok. When
applying for a building permit, the applicant will be advised by the building
inspector if approval from the Historical Commission is necessary.
|Other Compliance... Proposed
new construction or substantial renovation of multi-unit housing, commercial or
industrial buildings or structures may require site plan review and/or review
by the following City Departments: Airport Commissioner, Fire Department,
Historical Commissioner, Treasurer's Office, Conservation Commissioner, Harbor
Development Commission, Park Department, Water Department, Department of Public
Works, Health Department, Planning Department, Wire Department, Plumbing
Department, and the Assessor's Office. Their contact information is located at
the end of this brochure.
|What are the steps in applying for a
|1.The Application. Pick up an
application for a building permit at the Building Department. The licensed
builder must complete and sign the application. The property owner must also
review and sign the application.
|2. Complete the application. Please
provide the following information:
|a. Building location, setbacks, and related zoning information
b. Detailed information and qualifications of the owner, applicant,
contractor, architect, and engineer
c. Information about design loads,
testing laboratory, technical inspections, etc.
d. Information about
existing and proposed use, construction type, and building features
Summarized cost estimate
f. Detailed project description
3. Prepare two sets of construction plans, specifications,
and technical certifications to submit with the building permit
application. For projects involving structures greater than 35,000 cubic feet
in volume, construction plans must be stamped by a registered architect and /
or engineer. However, for complex designs or load bearing components, the
building inspector may require specific aspects of the design and specification
to be certified by a registered structural engineer.
NOTE: The building inspector may waive the
requirement for submitting plans if the work is of a minor nature.
Technical Certifications... The
building permit application must be supported with the following documents:
|For structures over 35,000 cubic feet in volume, affidavits
from architects and engineers certifying that the project has been designed
& will be inspected in accordance with the building code.
|Certification that the contractor is registered under the
Homeowner Improvement Contractor Law which is applicable for improvements of
residential structures of four (4) units or less that are owner occupied.
|Evidence that contractor's workers are covered by Workman's
Compensation Insurance. NOTE: This certification is not required if permit is
taken out by the homeowner.
|4. Submit the completed application packet to the Building Department.
|The licensed builder or homeowner (for one or two family owner
occupied dwellings) delivers the application to the Building Department. A
building inspector will conduct a quick review of the application to ensure it
is complete. If the application is incomplete, the licensed builder or
homeowner may have to provide additional information before the application can
|5. Plan Review... The application and
supporting documentation are then ready for plan review. After all sign offs
are obtained, the building inspector notifies the builder and issues the permit
card. The supporting documentation and plans are then filed with the Building
|Approval or Disapproval... The
building code requires that action be taken on the permit application within 30
days of the filing date. If approved, a building permit will be issued. For
minor projects, the building permit is often times issued when the application
is accepted. This completes the Building Permit process.
|6.Construction start up... The
Building Department inspects the project during construction.
|Permit Discontinuance... If the work
authorized by the permit has not commenced within six (6) months, the permit
may be deemed abandoned.
Site inspections.... The building
inspector frequently inspects the work during its progress. The results of the
inspections are recorded. It is the owner's or his/her representative's
responsibility to notify the Building Inspector so that all required inspection
can be conducted in a timely manner. If specialized inspection is required from
the architect and/or testing lab on the project, copies of the reports must be
provided to the Building Inspector for review and file.
7. Upon construction completion, the following information must be
submitted and actions taken before the Certificate of
Occupancy (CO) can be issued:
|Affidavits from the architect and/or engineer and the
contractor certifying that the project was built in accordance with the
approved plans and all applicable codes.
|A final inspection conducted by the following inspectors:
Fire, Water, Wiring, Plumbing, Department of Public Works, Conservation
Commission, Health Department and Building Department. The fee for the
Certificate is collected and then all signatures are obtained . The Building
Commissioner signs the CO and the original is provided to the applicant . A
copy is retained on file at the Building Department. This completes the CO process.
What if the planned work changes after a
building permit has been issued?
Changes to the planned work authorized by the building permit must
be authorized by a modification to the original permit and as-built plans must
be submitted before any work on changes is started.
|Whom does the applicant contact with
specific questions for a department involved in the building permit
|Dept. Of Public Works
|Inspector of Buildings
What if the applicant wants more
detailed information about the Massachusetts State Building Code or the
Building Permit process?
For more information, call the New Bedford Building Department.
The City of New Bedford does not discriminate on the basis of
The information contained in this document may not be complete or
fully up to date and is subject to change. To confirm information regarding
this permitting process, contact the appropriate City of New Bedford
Department. This document may be used strictly for informational purposes.
133 William St - Rm. 308 - New Bedford, MA 02740 - Tel: 508-979-1540 - Fax: 508-961-3143