The Inspectional Services (Building Department) staff is available to address questions or concerns during office hours (Monday, 8:30 am – 7:30 pm; Tuesday – Thursday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; Friday, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm). No appointment is necessary, but if you call (508) 230-0581, and no one is available, please leave your name, telephone number, and property address (or job site address) so someone can get back to you. You may also contact us via email. Email addresses may be found on the Inspectional Services home page: http://www.easton.ma.us/departments/building_inspector/index.php
We now offer online permitting and request that you file your permit application online. Visit www.easton.ma.us, select “Department” and then “Building Inspector” and follow the directions. You may also access our fee schedule on our website. Please note, you must complete the five minute registration process prior to submitting a permit online. For those who do not have a computer, we have a computer station directly outside the office and will be happy to provide assistance (508) 230-0581.
Building codes are legal documents that regulate the construction and alteration of buildings for the purpose of protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. Codes cover a wide range of topics including energy conservation, light, ventilation, demolition, plumbing, gasfitting, electrical, construction, fire protection, and structural standards. The standards are designed to reduce construction hazards and costs, provide safe construction standards, and contribute to community well-being by assuring compliance with those standards. For more information, please visit this site: http://www.mass.gov/eopss/consumer-prot-and-bus-lic/license-type/csl/building-codebbrs.html. Copies of the State Building Code may be obtained from the State House Book Store in Boston: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/spr/sprcat/catidx.htm or call 617-727-2834.
Determining if you need a Building Permit:
A building permit is a license that grants legal permission to demolish a building or structure, to start construction of a building, addition, or structure, or to make modifications, improvements, enhancements, alterations or changes to an existing building or structure. Building permits are required for all construction that is not an “ordinary repair,” defined in the State Building Code 780 CMR as follows:
“REPAIRS, ORDINARY. Any maintenance which does not affect the structure, egress,
fire protection systems, fire ratings, energy conservation provisions, plumbing, sanitary, gas, electrical or other utilities.” You should consult this provision of the Code in the event the State changes or modifies this definition in the future. Building permits are required by Section 110.0 of Massachusetts State Building Code (780 CMR). It is unlawful to construct, alter, repair, remove or demolish a structure, to change the use or occupancy of a building or structure, or to install any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which is regulated by the State Building Code without first applying and obtaining the required permit (s).
To determine whether you will need to obtain a building permit, review the following questions:
1. Does your project include the demolition of a building or structure or part thereof?
2. Does your project include the construction of a new building or addition other than a one story
detached accessory building used as a tool or storage shed, playhouse or similar structure that is less than 120 square feet in floor area?
3. Does your project include the installation of a fence that is higher than 6 feet?
4. Does your project include the construction of a retaining wall(s), which may be construed to be a threat to the public safety, health or welfare and which would retain more than four feet of unbalanced fill?
5. Does your project include repairs or alterations which include any of the following:
a. Removal of any wall, partition or portion thereof,
b. Removal or cutting of any beam, column or other load-bearing support,
c. Removal or change of any required means of egress, d. Rearrangements of parts of a structure affecting egress requirements,
e. Additions, alterations, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, mechanical
system, windows, fi re protection system, energy conservation system, or
f. Other work affecting public health or general safety?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you need to obtain a building permit from Inspectional Services. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you may not need to obtain a building permit. If you are unsure how to answer any of these questions, you should contact the Inspector of Buildings (or staff) in order to determine whether you will need to obtain a building permit for your project. In any event, the Inspector of Buildings makes the final determination as to whether or not a permit is needed.
In addition, you should ask yourself the following:
1. Will your project change the use of or change any space within a building?
2. Will you be working on any electrical, sheet metal, plumbing or gas systems?
If the answer is “yes” to either question, you need to obtain a permit. If you are unsure how to answer these questions, you should contact the Inspector of Buildings in order to determine whether you will need to obtain a building permit for your project. The Inspector of Buildings makes the final determination as to whether or not a permit is needed.
State Building Code also indicates the requirement for:
Who May Submit a Building Permit Application?
A homeowner who resides at the property or intends to reside at the property is allowed to obtain their own building permit for renovations and improvements to their homes. The homeowner will be acting as the contractor and subject to 780 CMR rules and regulations.
However, when the homeowner obtains a building permit, he/she is not eligible to access the Guaranty Fund established by the Home Improvement Law (MGL c142A) which provides recourse due to contract issues or poor workmanship. Additionally, the homeowner must ensure that all workers provide the proper insurance documentation to avoid possible liability in the event of an accident. Only homeowners with extensive experience in renovating homes and up to date knowledge of the building code should consider applying for their own building permit.
It is the Inspector of Building’s recommendation that properly licensed professional(s) be used for any project. Visit http://elicense.chs.state.ma.us/Verification/Search.aspx to determine if your contractor has the proper CSL license and https://services.oca.state.ma.us/hic/licenseelist.aspx to verify Home Improvement Contractor registration.
A Building Permit for a commercial project is issued to a contractor who is licensed for work on commercial property and uses in accordance with construction documents prepared by a registered architect or engineer. These professionals are responsible for supervising critical aspects of the construction. If the licensed construction supervisor designated on the permit application leaves the project before completion, construction work must cease and the Building Inspector must be notified immediately. A new building permit application will need to be filed in order to ensure the new licensed supervisor is on record as being responsible for the project prior to construction continuing.
Before You Submit a Building Permit Application:
1. Zoning Compliance: You must meet the requirements of the Easton Zoning By-Law or obtain the zoning relief required by the By-Law.
2. Wetlands Compliance: Your project must meet all applicable requirements, if any, of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and Easton By-Law.
3. Subdivision: If you plan on dividing your land, you must comply with the Subdivision Control Law and the Subdivision Regulations and Procedural Rules of the Planning Board.
4. Sign By-Law Compliance: Proposed signage must comply with the Sign By-Law.
5. Related Licenses and Permits: Some of the permits or licenses required by other boards, commissions, or departments will be required before you can get your Building Permit; others may be obtained simultaneously or after you obtain your Building Permit. This should be discussed with Inspectional Services when you begin the development process. In order to avoid delays, many of the reviews and approvals should be done or at least investigated prior to filing the Building Permit application.
Applying for a Building permit:
The Building Department has, by law, 30 days to act on your Building Permit Application provided your application is complete. Often a building permit is issued within 48 hours, however, this depends on an application being complete and the complexity of the project.
1. Permits you might need for your project: Demolition Permit, Building Permit, Sheet Metal Permit (only a licensed sheet metal worker can obtain this permit), Plumbing Permit (only a licensed plumber can obtain this permit), Gas fitting Permit (only a licensed gas fitter can obtain this permit), and Electrical Permit (only a licensed electrician can obtain this permit).
2. Submit the completed application form online (building, plumbing, gas, electrical, etc.) and then attach the requirement documents and plans as PDF attachments. Please note that commercial building permits are issued only to licensed construction supervisors. The Inspector of Buildings and his staff will review the application; confirm it is complete, or note via the online permitting system “chat feature” that additional information is needed. If another department’s approval or input is required, the Inspector will electronically ask for comment. (Large or complex projects will be reviewed by the Development Review Team).
Please note: Work must not be started on any project until the required permit(s) have been issued.
3. When the review is complete and the permit is ready to be issued, the Inspector will set the status of your application as “Ready for Payment” with the fee noted; you should receive an email requesting payment. You may then pay online with an online check or credit card (American Express not accepted).
4. The Building Inspector or Building Department staff will email you following payment of the fee and notify you that your permit has been approved. You may print your permit by logging back into your account and selecting the option “Print Permit.” (It is helpful if you apply for permits often to automatically log back in, refresh your browser, to see the updated status of your permit).
5. For commercial projects, your architect and/or registered engineer must submit a Preliminary Affidavit taking responsibility for the plans and specifications and monitoring of the project.
6. Once issued, the Building Permit must be displayed on the job site and be accessible during inspections.
7. Any building permit issued is deemed abandoned and invalid unless the work authorized by it is commenced within six months after issuance.
8. Periodic inspections are required during demolition or construction. See the end of this document for the sequence of inspections. The licensed electrician, sheet metal worker, gas fitter, or plumber should contact our office (508) 230-0581 to schedule inspections (or request via the online permitting system) of their rough and finished work. In general, you will require (as applicable) a footings or foundation inspection, rough inspection (rough electrical, sheet metal, plumbing and gas and fire department, and then rough building inspection), insulation inspection, and final inspection (final electrical, sheet metal, plumbing and gas, fire department, and then final building inspection).
The results of the inspections are recorded on the front of the Building Permit and entered electronically into our permit system. A homeowner or contractor can log into their account and see the progress of their project.
For commercial or large scale projects, required reports from the architect and/or registered engineer must be completed and filed, together with the Certification to Accompany Periodic Reports. It is the responsibility of the licensed construction supervisor to notify the inspector so the final inspection can take place. Final affidavits for structural work, certified work project
reports, and certified as-builts will be required.
10. Once the work is completed and approved, you will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy.
No building, whether newly constructed, altered, or changed as to use, may be occupied until Inspectional Services issues a Certificate of Occupancy. The Certificate establishes that the structure or use complies with the State Building Code and Easton Zoning By-Law. It will be issued following completion of the project and upon final inspection by Inspectional Services and other Town Officials. To obtain it, you will need to submit affidavits electronically from the architect, engineer, and contractor certifying that the project was built in accordance with the approved plans and all applicable codes.
A demolition permit application is submitted using the Residential or Commercial Building application. If you have a preexisting nonconforming use, structure or lot, consult with the Inspector of Buildings before moving forward with any demolition plans. By demolishing a structure without taking requisite actions, you may permanently destroy any grandfathered zoning protection you have under G.L. c. 40A, § 6.
You will also need to contact utility companies to cut and cap utilities in order to obtain a Demolition Permit. Each utility company must issue a letter to you confirming that its services have been disconnected from the property.
The utilities may include:
• Town of Easton Water Department: 508-230-0850
• Columbia Gas: 1-800-677-5052
• Electric Lines - National Grid: 1-800-322-3223
• Verizon (telephone lines/cable): 1-800-837-4966
• Cable Comcast (telephone lines/cable): 888-633-4266
If the structure is older than 75 years, the structure would be subject to the Building Demolition By-Law and an appearance before the Historical Commission might be required. Visit this page http://www.easton.ma.us/boards_and_committees/historical_commission/demolition_review.php for more information.
Scheduling An Inspection:
Generally, Inspectional Services needs only one day’s notice or a call prior to 9 a.m. In some instances due to staff schedules more notice may be required.
Sequence Of Inspections Required:
1. Excavation – Inspector must view before stone or gravel is placed.
2. Footings and/or Foundation-All detached building foundations in excess of 400 square feet must be dug 4 feet in depth.
3. Rough Electrical
4. Rough Plumbing
5. Rough Frame
6. Fireplace Throat (if applicable)
8. Final Electrical
9. Final Plumbing
10. Fire Inspection
11. Final Building
Be Sure Project is Ready for Inspection before Calling to Avoid Re-Inspection Fees!
Town of Easton, MA