Permitting & Applications Information
Please note: Your application must be complete before submitting to the Building Department. Professionally stamped plans may be required by the Building Official.
- A copy of the signed contract, CSL, HIC and Workers Comp Certificate of Insurance is required to be submitted with all Building Permit Applications. The estimated building cost to include all labor & materials (including the materials supplied by owner).
- If a homeowner is the applicant, homeowners exemption forms are required to be uploaded into the Online permitting system. The project cost must include labor and materials. A Certificate of Insurance is required If the homeowner is hiring a subcontractor.
- Homeowners who contract with an unregistered contractor do not have access to the Guaranty Fund (M.G.L. c 142A)
- A condominium building that has apartment style units is considered a commercial building - commercial fees and application requirements will apply.
A fee is not required for accessory structures 200 square feet or less. The building permit is to approve the location only - 10' from main dwelling and 5' from property lines. Submit a building permit online - and choose "accessory structure" in the Permit For field.
If the accessory structure is greater than 200 square feet a building permit and construction plans are required. The Conservation Commission and the Historic District Commission (if applicable) are required to approve any size accessory structure.
If a proposed addition has new bedrooms the Fire Department will need to approve. You will need to drop off a set of plans of each floor along with the square footage - no larger than 11x17 to the Fire Department on Main Street. Once Fire approves, those plans to be dropped off at the Building Department to be returned once the building permit is issued.
- Residential Air Barrier and Insulation Installation Checklist (PDF)
- Air Barriers - Tub, Shower and Fireplace Enclosures (BSC Information) (PDF)
Aquifer Protection Overlay District
If the property is in the Aquifer Protection Overlay District please see Section 10.3 of the Reading Zoning Bylaw (PDF). Engineering Department approval is required. A certified stamped plot plan is required with the existing and proposed lot coverage.
Attic or Basement Renovations
If the proposal is to renovate an attic or basement a site visit by the Building Department is required prior to permit issuance. The Applicant must submit the building application and a plan showing the existing and proposed head height, dimensions, insulation, heat, egress windows, and the rooms labeled before an inspection will be scheduled. Basement renovations over 1000 square feet requires Fire Department approval for smoke detectors. You will need to drop off one set of plans of each floor along with the square footage - no larger than 11x17 to the Fire Department on Main Street. Once Fire approves, those plans to be dropped off at the Building Department to be returned once the building permit is issued.
Applications must include at minimum, a legible plan with dimensions, existing and proposed locations of all fixtures, walls, windows, and doors. Exterior walls must be specified. Fans are required to be installed in full and half bathrooms. The type of tub and tempered glass on windows less than 5' from the tub is required.
A Commercial Building Application (PDF) must be filled out and uploaded into the attachments in the online permitting system (as well as filling out the application online). A set of plans must be brought to the Fire Department for approval. The Planning Department should be contacted for approval at 781.942.6648. The Sign-Offs Required to Obtain a Building Permit - Commercial (PDF), Initial Construction Control Documents and two sets of plans and one electronic are required to be submitted with the building application. When required by the Building Official, the professional shall submit field/progress reports together with pertinent comments, in a form acceptable to the Building Official.
A statement from the applicant stating the Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide (PDF) will be followed, and a plot plan showing the proposed deck, size and setbacks is required. Please contact Conservation for approval at 781.942.6616.
Demolition of a Structure
The Applicant is required to submit the Sign-Off to Demolish a Structure (PDF) with the building permit application. A 6'-0 chain link fence is required to be installed and inspected before a permit will be issued. The fence location must be on the plot plan and uploaded in the online permitting system prior to inspection. There is a 10-day waiting period after the direct abutters are notified by Certified Mail before a permit will be issued. The Applicant is required to submit an Abutter's List Request Application (JPEG) to receive the Certified Abutters List from the Assessing Department. The Health Department requirements are on the back of the Sign-Off to Demolish a Structure. These documents must be uploaded to the online permitting system for approval. If you have any questions on the Health requirements please call 781.942.9061. All original documents must be submitted to the Building Division.
A temporary dumpster and/or a Port-O-Potty permit is required to be issued by the Health Department before the structures are delivered. You can submit an application online. Please contact the Health Department at 781.942.9061 if additional information is required.
For a fence over 7' a building permit is required. There are no regulations regarding which way the fence is installed. The State Building Code, 780 CMR regulates the height of the fence. The fence can be installed close to the property line, as long as you are able to maintain the fence without accessing your neighbor's property. For Town approval please contact Conservation at 781.942.6616 and the Engineering Department at 781.942.9082 . If the property is in the Historic District, email the Historic District Commission.
Fire Department Approval
To expedite the process, you will need to drop off a set of plans of each floor along with the square footage - no larger than 11x17 to the Fire Department on Main Street. Once Fire approves, those plans to be dropped off at the Building Department to be returned once the building permit is issued.
Fire and Sprinkler Permits
The Fire Department is responsible for approving the plans. Please contact them directly at 781.944.3132. The contractor needs to submit the permit online, it is located under the Building Department. The Building Department will issue the permit once the Fire Department approval is received. If a contractor is doing both fire and sprinkler, separate permit applications and fees is required.
A new or renovated garage requires approval from the Engineering Department for the driveway (curb cut), please contact them directly. If the garage is attached to the home, the Fire Department needs to approve. You will need to drop off a set of plans of each floor along with the square footage - no larger than 11x17 to the Fire Department on Main Street. Once Fire approves, those plans to be dropped off at the Building Department to be returned once the building permit is issued.
Homeowners Exemption Forms
If the applicant is the homeowner, the homeowner must sign and date: CSL Exemption Form, Building Permit, HIC Exemption Form, Workers Comp Affidavit. The owner is responsible for the project and must be at all inspections.
A building permit is needed to install/replace a hot tub regardless if it is 200 square feet or less. A hot tub needs to meet accessory structures setbacks - 10' from dwelling and 5' from property lines. If the property is in the Historic District, email the Historic District Commission.
The stove specifications, window order and hood vent CFM size must be uploaded into the attachments before a building permit is issued.
A Manual J is required for a mini-split. If you are in a Historic District, the Historic District Commission must approve the installation of the mini splits before work starts. Please submit the application, then email the Historic District Commission.
A new dwelling would require Conservation, Engineering and Fire Department approval. Engineering would need to assign the address and approve the curb cut. A new dwelling requires a Certified Plot Plan, Manual J, Manual S, window order and HERS Rater submitted with the building application. If installing a mini-split system instead of HVAC, a Manual J is required.
A building permit is not required for pools less than 24" in depth. Electrical permits are required for both inground and above-ground pools.
The following is required for an above-ground pool: the pool brochure, information on the ladder, a plot plan or GIS Map (It is at the building inspectors discretion which plan is acceptable) of the property showing the pool, dimensions and setbacks and fence location.
The following is required for an inground pool: a current Certified Plot Plan showing the proposed pool with setbacks, dimensions of pool, fence and alarm location; a stamped legible construction plan; and the "Inground Pool - Requirements".
Conservation and the Historic District Commission (if applicable) approval is required - no matter what size pool.
Please see Pool Barrier Requirements (PDF).
Shingles used must be rated to withstand 110 MPH, or greater winds.
See Table of Dimensional Controls - Section 6.3 of the Reading Zoning Bylaw (PDF)
See Accessory Structures. Conservation and the Historic District Commission (if applicable) is required to approve any size shed.
A Manual J and Manual S is required with new ductwork. A Manual J is required with existing ductwork. These documents are required to be submitted before a building permit is issued. The contractor is required to submit an Air Leakage Test if unit is in unconditioned space before a building final is scheduled.
Showers & Tubs
Exterior walls must have insulation and an air barrier (sheetrock) separating the shower or tub from the exterior wall. Unless the underside of the floor is visible from the floor below, the floor of the bathroom should not be nailed down or otherwise secured until after the building inspector has inspected the work.
An electrical permit application is required to be submitted before a siding permit can be issued.
Contractors please see Memo from Building Commissioner: Solar Panel Memo. An electrical inspection cannot be scheduled until the Building Department receives a Final Affidavit from the Engineer of Record. The estimated building cost is $1000 per panel.
No trees are to be removed without Town approval. Please contact Conservation at 781.942.6616 and Engineering 781.942.9082.
If replacing or adding new windows the window order is required to be uploaded. Tempered glass is required at hazardous locations. Example: less than 5' from a shower or tub or near a staircase. The UV Factor information must be submitted with the building application - either the order form or the label from the window.