The Steps

  1. Review some issues that may impact your project
  2. Get your application together
    • Verify that your contractor has a current construction supervisor license.
    • Verify that your contractor is registered as a home improvement contractor.
    • Building Permit Application  - All permit applications and attachments must be submitted electronically. We no longer accept paper permits.
    • Homeowner Warning Form (PDF) - Shall be carefully read and signed by the homeowner if the homeowner is obtaining the Building Permit. If the homeowner obtains the Building Permit, access is denied to the arbitration program and guaranty fund both of which provide recourse for a homeowner when a contractor does not complete agreed upon work. See MGL c.142A section 1.
    • Workers' Compensation Insurance affidavit (Fillable PDF) - this must be completed by the contractor or the homeowner, whoever is doing the work.
    • Complete Debris Removal Form (PDF).
    • Plot Plan (PDF) - The boundary line plot plan must be prepared and certified by a Massachusetts Registered Land Surveyor. Requirements on the plot plan are lot lines, set backs, proposed addition and decks or porches, accessory structures, lot size, lot coverage, zoning district and completed on the Town of Needham Form. An As-Built plan will be required before framing can commence. (Available plot plan information used as a reference can be obtained in the Engineering Department). At application provide five (5) original copies of the plot plan.
      • Dimension construction plans
      • Span and size of joist
      • Footing size and depth
      • Beam sizes
      • For any engineered material provide a Registered Design Professional Stamp for spans and installation design.
      • Railing heights and baluster spacing.
      • Details on stairs
      • Mechanical attachments
      • Flashing details
  3. Review your materials before submission to the Building Department- As the homeowner, even if you are using a contractor, you should pay close attention to the following details:
    • The Building permit application must be signed by the homeowner or submit a signed contract by both parties in compliance with MGL 142 A (HIC program).
    • Review your plot plan with your surveyor to make sure that all the dimension lines are included for the proposed deck and utilities (water, sewer, gas and electric) are on the plot plan.
    • Review your plot plan and building plans to ensure compliance with current zoning regulations.
    • Open deck areas are not included in lot coverage.
  4. Submit your application materials- Submit completed forms to the Building Department (500 Dedham Avenue) along with:
    • Five copies of the plot plan wet stamped and signed by a registered land surveyor (plot plan specifics). (Available plot plan information can be obtained in the Engineering Division)
    • Two copies of building plans (wet stamped and signed), if applicable.
  5. What happens next?- Once the application is submitted, many Town departments need to review the components for completeness and compliance. Each of the following departments must sign off on the application before it can be issued:
    • Building Department - completeness of drawings, zoning compliance.
    • Conservation - compliance with wetlands, floodplain, Riverfront Area regulations (if applicable).
    • All of these steps are necessary and can take time. The more time you spend to make sure that your application is complete, the quicker your permit will be issued. (Approximate timelines) The permit is then issued and construction must begin within 6 months
  6. Get inspections at various stages during the work
    • Excavation Inspection before concrete is poured (for circumstances in which the foundation cannot be seen after it is poured such as with sonotubes).
    • Submit Surveyor's As-Built Form (PDF), in triplicate once the frame is built.
    • Rough frame inspection
    • Final building inspection.
  7. Enjoy your new space

Please review the Frequently Asked Questions to understand this process and avoid problems that may slow down the process.