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The rule of thumb is do not cover any building element (including the ground) until it has been inspected by the appropriate inspector. Typical inspections are as follow: excavation, rebar for grounding by wiring inspector, rebar by building inspector, foundation, rough plumbing, rough gas, rough wiring, wall bracing, rough frame, insulation, final plumbing, final gas, final wiring, final fire alarm, final building. For further information please read our inspection guidelines.
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The Building code states:"R105.1 Required. It shall be unlawful to construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, remove ordemolish a building or structure; or to change the use or occupancy of a building or structure;or to install or alter any equipment for which provision is made or the installation of which isregulated by this code without first filing a written application with the building official andobtaining the required permit."If you are unsure if need to apply for a permit you should email the building department at email@example.com and ask.
Yes. Any work in a single family dwelling consisting only of the following are exempt.
R105.2 Work Exempt from Permit. Except for activities which may require a permit pursuant to other laws, by-laws, rules and the specialized codes, a building permit is not required for the following activities: Building:
1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, but not garages, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet (18.58 m2)
2. Fences not over six feet (1829 mm) high.
3. Retaining walls that are not over four feet (1219 mm) in height measured from the bottom of the footing to the top of the wall, unless supporting a surcharge, or that retain over four feet of unbalanced fill.
4. Sidewalks and driveways.
5. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, counter tops and similar finish work.
6. Prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 24 inches (610 mm) deep.
7. Swings and other playground equipment.
8. Window awnings supported by an exterior wall which do not project more than 54 inches (1372 mm) from the exterior wall and do not require additional support.
9. 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 and do not serve the exit door required by subsection R311.4.
If you are planning to do work on a one or two family dwelling or accessory structures you should use the Building Permit application for One and Two Family dwellings.
If you are replacing windows, doors (no header changes), siding, roofing, or deck boards (not structural), you can use the Residential Express Permit.
If you are doing any other work you should use the application for Other Than One and Two Family Dwellings. (Commercial buildings)
The fee is based on the cost of construction. Please see our fee schedule.
The Building Code gives a recommended guideline of thirty days for a permit to be processed. Generally The Building Department can respond with a "approval or denial or more information needed" answer within three weeks for larger scale projects and one to two weeks for simpler ones. If your project requires a public hearing the laws will require an additional one to two month timetable to process.
The person supervising construction (homeowner or licensed construction supervisor) is responsible for requesting all Building Inspections and Fire Department inspections. The specialty trades person (plumber, electrician, gas fitter) is responsible for scheduling their special inspections. Please see our paper on inspections for more details.
It is best to email the department to request inspections.
For Building Inspections the inspection will generally take place the following business day between 10 am and noon depending on the volumes of inspections that day. For plumbing, gas, and wiring inspections the inspections shall take place within three business days after the request. The day and time window will be scheduled by the Plumbing/Gas and or Wiring inspector. Please Contact Fire, Assessors, Conservation and Health Departments for their inspection policies.