(978) 448-1100

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173 Main St.
Groton, MA 01450

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Building Department FAQs

Disclaimer – The answers for FAQ’s are based on general questions and may not pertain to all situations, when in doubt, please contact the Building Department for further assistance.

By Calling the Building Dept at 978-448-1109, inspections cannot be scheduled online through Viewpoint.

Please call the building department to schedule inspections – (978) 448-1109

Our inspector’s days and hours are as follows:
Electrical – Monday through Thursday 4:00 PM -6:00 PM
Plumbing/ Gas – Tuesday and Thursday 2:00 PM- 4:00 PM
Building– Monday Through Friday at inspectors discretion

Visit  https://www.mass.gov/handbook/ninth-edition-of-the-ma-state-building-code-780

Please Note that on Nov 7,2020 , the BBRS adopted the 2018 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code), all projects submitted after Nov 7,2020 are required to meet the 2018 IECC, not the 2015 IECC.

In residential construction, most contractors need BOTH Massachusetts HIC (Home Improvement Contractor) license and CSL (Construction Supervisors License). You can find the 2018 update showing types of work and licensing requirements are at https://portal.grotonma.gov/storage/Building_Department/2018_-_CSL_and_HIC_License_sheet.pdf . These licenses are required in most cases and a building permit cannot be issued without them, please make sure your contractor is properly licensed and insured before entering into a contract for work.

Yes, an SH (Sheetmetal) permit is required.

Building Permit– Yes, a homeowner can apply for and perform their own work

Electrical– Yes, an owner of a single family house can apply for and perform their own work BUT they must include on their permit application a letter from their insurance company stating that they are aware said homeowner is performing electrical work and that they are insured for any issues that may arise in conjunction with said work

Gas/Plumbing– Per Mass Plumbing Code, Homeowners are NOT allowed to perform their own work

Please keep in mind that the Building/Electrical inspectors are always here to help, but we are not architects, consultants, or engineers. A homeowner doing their own work is responsible to review the applicable Codes and be prepared to submit the necessary information in order to obtain approval for their permit and work.

Yes, you need a building permit for all pools over 24” (2 feet) deep as well as an electrical permit to hook up the pump. You may also need a gas permit if you are installing a gas heater for the pool. Keep in mind that all pools need the proper barriers/fencing installed prior to sign off.

Yes, you will need a building permit if it is attached to your house/dwelling. Deck applications should be accompanied by drawings and details showing construction of the deck for us to review against the Code for proper construction. The permit will also need a plot plan of your land showing location of deck in relation to property setbacks as well as an as-built septic plan (as applicable) showing deck location in relation to septic components. If your deck is detached, call the Building Dept for information on whether you need a permit.

Residential Fences not over 7 feet high do not require a permit and there is no setback from property lines…. You can install it right on the line on YOUR side…. A good idea is to have your property professionally surveyed to make sure you are not installing it on your neighbors’ land.

Unfortunately, this is not a Building Dept matter, this is a civil matter between neighbors and should be settled as such. A licensed professional Land Surveyor may be able to help you.

After a permit is issued, work on the site has to commence within 180 days or it will become invalid. If work is suspended or abandoned for a period of 180 days after commencement, it becomes invalid. The Building Official is allowed to grant 180-day extension but such extension has to requested in writing PRIOR to the expiration date with a justifiable cause.

Keep in mind the Code allows for 30 days for approval, however, the Building Dept typically processes permits for simple building and mechanical applications in a couple days. Permits for New House construction, decks, or addition could take a couple weeks as these are approved by all Depts within the Town. The above time frame is assuming all pertinent information is contained in the application for all Depts to be able to give approval. A permit will only be released for review and approval by other Depts after ALL required and/or requested information has been attached to permit application.

No, you cannot and you would be subject to Triple permit fees should you choose to commence without the proper permit, and you also run the risk of something being wrong with your application or deficiencies in your work which could lead to ripping out what you did…However, in an “emergency” situation, you are allowed to start but must apply the next business day.

Residential Sheds under 200 SF do not need a permit but must meet the setbacks from property lines. This placement should also not encroach on the location of the Subsurface Sewerage Disposal System.

Most of the residence in Groton are in RA Zone (Residential/Agriculture) and this answer is based on this zone…. Setbacks from the front of your property is 50’ and 15’ from the sides and rear of the property for a standard lot, if you have a hammerhead style lot setbacks are 200’ from the street and 25’ from sides and rear.

Yes, the 50’ front yard setback must be maintained for each street, the 15’ would be only for the sides of the lot which do not have frontage on a street.

Nonconforming lots require the same setbacks as standard lots.

Then you would have to apply to the Zoning Board of Appeal for a Special Permit or Variance prior to submitting your building permit. Contact the Building Dept for more information.

Most of Groton has private septic and these were designed for a certain number of bedrooms, you should check with the Groton Board of Health or Nashoba Associated Boards of Health to see if your septic has the capacity to allow other bedrooms prior to applying for a building permit. Please be aware the Mass Regulations also consider the total number of rooms in the house as a determining factor for the number of bedrooms, please consult with the Board of Health for room counts and assistance.

Political signs are allowed on PRIVATE property with Owners permission, they are NOT allowed on Town property.

The Town’s policy is permit fees are non refundable.

If it is over 400 SF in area , then a temporary permit is required. Please include specific use (ex.- wedding with 50 guests) and include Fire Resistance Rating for membrane materials with your application.

You need the following 3 permits: Trench Permit, Gas Permit and UG Tank Permit (issued by the GFD) . You can apply for the Trench and Gas permit online with the Building Dept. AFTER you have an approved Trench permit, then you will go to the GFD and obtain the UG tank permit.

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