Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Citizens' Guide to State Services
William Francis Galvin
Secretary of the Commonwealth
Citizen Information Service
Housing/Community Development: Building Regulations
J4 State Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS)
Department of of Public Safety
One Ashburton Place, Room 1301
Boston, MA 02108
The Board of Building Regulations and Standards has the sole responsibility for
maintaining the State Building Code. The State Building Code contains
provisions for structural safety by specifying loading criteria for dead, live, wind, snow
and seismic loads; has provisions for foundation and structural design; contains life
safety provisions to provide for safe egress from buildings in the event of an emergency;
contains provisions for fire safety through the installation of automatic sprinkler and
fire detection and alarm systems and; standards for energy conservation in buildings. The
board has the following major objectives: promulgating uniform standards throughout the
Commonwealth for construction and construction materials compatible with accepted
standards of engineering and fire prevention practices, energy conservation, and public
safety; and promoting the use of modern technical methods, devices, and improvements.
Its responsibilities also include: (1) approval of new building products, materials, and construction methods not addressed in the State Building Code; (2) licensing of concrete technicians as well as laboratories testing concrete; (3) licensing of construction supervisors, and registration of home improvement contractors and sub-contractors; (4) certification of producers of manufactured buildings (including modular homes) and third-party inspection agencies (i.e. agencies certified by the board to act on its behalf); and (5) registration of persons or firms milling lumber within the state.
The State Building Code Appeals Board hears appeals between the regular community and local building officials on building code matters as well as reviews decisions by local building code appeals boards. The BBRS develops requirements for the certification of municipal building officials (referred to as Building Code Enforcement Officials which include inspectors of buildings, local inspectors as well as building commissioners) and develops and approves courses of continuing education for maintenance of such certification.
The code is the set of comprehensive regulations to which all construction must adhere. It stipulates requirements for structural loads, materials, lighting, ventilation, fire protection, egress, energy conservation, and many other building topics, including responsibilities for administration and enforcement and procedures to be followed in filing appeals. Local building officials enforce the code as it applies to all buildings within their jurisdiction with the exception of state-owned buildings which are the responsibility of state building inspectors. The sixth edition of the entire state building code and its amendments, both the commercial and residential provisions, may be ordered from the State Bookstore. Copies of the one and two-family dwelling code is printed separately and is also available.
Health codes promulgated by the Department of Public Healthand the Department of Environmental Protection set standards to protect the health, safety, and well-being of Massachusetts citizens. The State Sanitary Code sets minimum standards for residential housing (105 CMR 410.000, Chapter II); for swimming pools (105 CMR 435.000, Chapter V); for developed family type campgrounds (105 CMR 440.000, Chapter VI), and for bathing beaches (105 CMR 451.000, Chapter VII). It sets housing and sanitation standards for farm labor camps (105 CMR 420.00, Chapter III); sanitary standards for recreational camps for children (105 CMR 430.000, Chapter IV); and minimum health and sanitation standards and inspection procedures for correctional facilities and detention centers (105 CMR 460.000). The State Environmental Code sets minimum standards for sub-surface disposal of sewage (310 CMR 15.000, Title V). The local boards of health administer the provisions of the State Sanitary Code.
MGL Ch. 111: 190-199 and the Lead Paint Poisoning Prevention Regulations 105 CMR 460.000 of the Department of Public Health contain requirements for lead paint inspection and control. For further information on lead paint, see Health, H46.