When a Building Permit is Not Needed

5110.3/110.3 Exemptions. 

A building permit is not required for the following activities. Such exemption, however, shall not exempt the activity from any review or permit that may be required pursuant to other laws, bylaws, rules, and regulations of other jurisdictions (e.g., zoning, conservation, etc.).

  1. One-story detached accessory buildings used as
    • tool shed
    • storage shed
    • playhouses and
    • similar uses,
    • provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet
  2. Fences 7 feet (1,829 millimeters) in height or less.
  3. Retaining walls that, in the opinion of the building official, are not a threat to the public safety, health or welfare and which retain less than 4 feet (1,220 millimeters) of unbalanced fill.
  4. Ordinary repairs as defined in Chapter 2:
    Ordinary repairs shall not include the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam, column or other load-bearing support, or the removal or change of any required means of egress, or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the egress requirements; nor shall ordinary repairs include addition to, alteration of, replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, mechanical system, fire protection system, energy conservation system or other work affecting public health or general safety.
  5. 5. Greenhouses: A building permit or notice to the building official is not required for the construction of
    • greenhouses covered exclusively with plastic film (in accordance with St. 1983, c. 671.
      This exemption does not apply if the greenhouse
    • is to be used for large assemblies of people ores of people or
    • uses other than normally expected for this purpose).
  6. Painting, papering, tiling, carpeting, countertops, and similar finish work.
  7. Swings and other playground equipment accessory to a one- or two-family dwelling.
  8. Window awnings 9 square feet (0.8361 square meters) or less in the area supported by an exterior wall.