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 is 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 Online permitting system. The project cost must include labor and materials. 
  • A condominium building that has apartment style units is considered a commercial building - commercial fees and application requirements will apply.

Common Projects

Accessory Structures

A fee is not required for accessory structures 200 square feet or less. The building permit is to approve the location only. 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. 

Additions

If a proposed addition has new bedrooms the Fire Department will need to approve the plans after the Building Department reviews and approves. 

Air Barrier

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 to show the existing and proposal 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. Contact the Fire Department at 781.942.3132. 

Bathroom

Applications must include at minimum, a legible plan showing 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.

Commercial Project

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 also 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. 

Deck 

A statement from the applicant is required stating the Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide (PDF) will be followed. A plot plan showing the proposed deck and setbacks is required. Please contact Conservation for approval at 781.942.6616. 

    Helical Piers Procedure (PDF)

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 into 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. 

Dumpster

If a temporary dumpster is required you can submit an application online. Please contact the Health Department at 781.942.9061 if additional information is required.

Fence

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

If the Fire Department needs to approve plans before a building permit is issued, the applicant is responsible for picking up approved plans from the Building Department and dropping off at the Fire Department. Once the Fire Department approves, the plans need to be returned to the Building Department and attached to the building permit. This procedure is a change in process to allow one approved set of plans by both fire and building at the property. 

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 application and fee to 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 are required. 

Garage

A new 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. Please contact Conservation for approval at 781.942.6616.

Hot Tub

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 in the rear of the property. If the property is in the Historic District, email the Historic District Commission

Kitchen

The stove specifications and hood vent information must be uploaded into the attachments before a building permit is issued. 

Mini-Split

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

New Dwelling

A new dwelling would require Conservation, Engineering and Fire Department approval. Engineering would need to approve the address and curb cut. A new dwelling requires a Certified Plot Plan, Manual J, Manual S and HERS Rater submitted with the building application. If installing a mini-split system instead of HVAC, a Manual J is required.

Pools 

A building permit is not required for pools less than 24". A Certified Plot Plan showing fence and alarm location, current stamped plan and an electrical permit is required. Conservation and the Historic District Commission (if applicable) approval is required. Please see Pool Barrier Requirements (PDF)

Roofing

Shingles used must be rated to withstand 110 MPH, or greater winds. 

Setback Requirements

See Table of Dimensional Controls - Section 6.3 of the Reading Zoning Bylaw (PDF)

Sheds

See Accessory Structures. Conservation and the Historic District Commission (if applicable) is required to approve any size shed. 

Sheet Metal

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 will be issued. The contractor is required to submit an Air Leakage Test if unit is in unconditioned space before a building final is scheduled. 

    Duct Tightness Verification (PDF)

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.

Siding

An electrical permit application is required to be submitted before a siding permit can be issued.

Solar Panels

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. 

Trees

No trees are to be removed without Town approval. Please contact Conservation at 781.942.6616 and Engineering 781.942.9082.

Windows

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.