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Why Do I Need a Building Permit?

Building permits are necessary to ensure that any proposed work to be done is designed and constructed in accordance with the Massachusetts State Building Code and the Zoning By-Laws of the City of Fall River.

You need a building permit if you intend to:

  • Build a new commercial building, residential home, shed or structure
  • Build an addition to a commercial building, residential home, shed or structure
  • Repair, renovate or demolish any building or structure
  • Change the use and/or occupancy of a building
  • Change, remove or install any required means of egress (exits / stairs) in a building


Some Examples:

Do I need a permit to replace the roof shingles on my house – YES
Do I need a permit to replace the exterior siding on my house – YES
Do I need a permit to change the windows in my house – YES
Do I need a permit to replace the soffits or gutters on my house – YES
Do I need a permit to change the sheetrock in my house – YES
Do I need a permit to change the carpet and paint the walls in my house - NO


NOTE: You do NOT need a building permit for ordinary repairs such as wallpapering, staining, interior or exterior painting or carpet installation.

Only the listed owner of an owner occupied 1 or 2 family residential dwelling can exercise their right to “homeowners exemption” – that means they can obtain the building permit in their name if they intend to do the work themselves and they live at that location. Any building other than an owner occupied 1 or 2 family dwelling are considered Commercial Construction and must obtain a permit through a Massachusettes licensed contractor – that means if you intend to do work on your 4 family dwelling the permit and the work; must be by a licensed contractor.

Please see appropriate Permit Checklist form for complete instructions of required information. Payments made be made by CASH or CHECK (personal checks accepted)

Click here to see if your contractor is licensed.

You need an electrical or plumbing/gas permit if you:

  • Install or repair any equipment or fixtures covered by the Plumbing, Gas or Electrical codes


NOTE: Only licensed plumbing, gas or electrical contractors can apply for these permits.