Why Do I Need to Obtain Permits?
The plumbing code requires that a licensed plumber/gas fitter perform all plumbing and gas work and receive a permit from the Building/Inspection Department. This includes replacing faucets, boilers, hot water heaters and gas appliances etc.
While a homeowner is allowed to do electrical work in their own home, we strongly encourage a licensed electrician be hired since there are constant changes in the electrical code. Keep in mind that the plumber/gas fitter replacing your water heater is not an electrician and should not be wiring the new fixture. Homeowners may check that a contractor has a license by checking the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure and/or the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety websites.
Building permits are also required for all new construction as well as for new roofs, windows, siding, accessory structures and pools. The homeowner may act as the general contractor but if you are hiring a licensed contractor, he/she should pull the permit for you. If you act as your own contractor, you are responsible for all the work.
With rising fuel costs, wood stoves and pellet stoves are becoming popular choices to help reduce heating costs. These require a permit and the stove needs to be inspected prior to use to ensure it was properly installed.
When the proper permits are obtained, you are assured the contractor you have hired is licensed and will not try to take short cuts or do inferior work. Mistakes can happen and things can be easily overlooked. At the completion of the job, a professional inspector will give a final inspection of the contractor’s work, making sure the work has been done to code.
A homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover claims on any work done without a permit or by an unlicensed contractor.
If a contractor is doing work without a permit, you take the risk of a STOP WORK ORDER being issued, thus holding up the progress of the job. Work done without a permit may also result in double permit fees and/or a fine.
Please see the online permitting system for further permitting instructions. A link may be found above under "Additional Links."
Contact the Inspection Department if you are uncertain whether a permit is required to be pulled.
The cost of obtaining a permit is to your benefit.