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Inspectional Services
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When is a building permit required?
A. Anyone seeking to construct, alter, or demolish a structure or install a sign must first obtain a building permit issued by the Building Department. The building permit must be obtained before the start of any work and must be prominently posted at the job site.

Q. Who can be issued a building permit?
A. Building permits are issued to construction supervisors licensed by the State. The State license is only valid for work involving structures of less than 35,000 cu. As an exception to this requirement, building permits are also issued to homeowners doing work on one- or two-unit dwellings where they reside or intend to reside. Please note that when homeowners are issued building permits, they may be liable for contractors working on their property and they are not eligible for protection under the provisions of the Homeowners Improvement Contractor Law.

Q. What about the issuance of plumbing, gas, or wiring permits?
A. These permits are only issued to Massachusetts licensed plumbers, gasfitters, or electricians.

Q. What requirements must be met prior to applying for a building permit?
A. The work must be in compliance with the Winthrop Zoning Ordinance.
Q. When must work be started under the building permit?
A. Work must be started within six (6) months of the date the permit is issued. Once started, the work must be progressing continuously to completion. The Noise By-Law does not permit construction activities prior to 7:00 a.m. and after 7:00 p.m.

Q. What about requirements for handicapped persons?
A. The Massachusetts Access Regulations are part of the Building Code and are enforced for new construction, alterations, and changes in use.

Q. What is the required height of guardrails and handrails?                                                             
A. For single- and two-family houses, a deck located more than 30 inches above grade must have a guardrail of at least 36 inches in height. Handrails must be located at a height of from 30 inches-28 inches. If the guardrail also serves as the handrail for open-sided steps, the minimum height is 34 inches. Guardrails for uses other than one- or two-family structures must be a minimum of 42 inches.

Winthrop Town Hall 1 Metcalf Square, Winthrop, MA 02152
Phone: 617.846.1852
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