1. What is the abbreviated review process?

The abbreviated review process is intended to be a two-part review. The licensee and architect submit a Part I submission which includes detailed design development plans. The Department reviews the design development plans and sends review comments to the licensee and architect. The licensee and architect are expected to review and incorporate the Department's Part I plan review comments into the final plans and submit a Part II submission that includes the final plans, Compliance Checklists and combined licensee's and architect's affidavit. The Department's plan approval relies upon the affidavit, which attests to all of the following items:

  1. Compliance with construction standards;
  2. the licensee's understanding and agreement that the Department maintains continuing authority to review the plans, inspect the work, withdraw its approval; and
  3. the licensee's understanding of the continuing obligation to make any changes required by the Department to comply with the applicable codes and regulations, whether or not physical plant construction or alterations are complete.

The Department does not conduct a detailed review of the final plans.

2. Which projects qualify for abbreviated review?

2.a. Hospital, Clinic, Dialysis Facilities or Ambulatory Surgery Centers projects with an estimated construction cost of $1,000,000 or more.

2.b. Any long-term care facility project with an estimated construction cost over $800,000, or project affecting a long-term care facility that was not constructed under current physical plant regulations.

2.c. Projects involving Hospice Inpatient Facilities are not eligible for review under the Self-Certification process or Abbreviated Review process and must be submitted for review according to the full review process.

3. What documentation must be submitted to the Department for abbreviated plan approval?

Abbreviated review involves two types of document submission, Part I and Part II.  Documentation marked with an asterisk below must be submitted on the forms available on the DPH website at www.mass.gov/dph/planreview.  Please note that the documentation indicated to be submitted as “PDF file on disc” below will be required to be submitted in PDF format after September 1, 2013, and will also be accepted in PDF format before that date.  All PDF documents must be converted from original electronic files or scanned from hard copies at a resolution of 300 dpi.

3.a. Part I Abbreviated Submission must include:

  • Plan Review Application Form* (printed hard copy)
  • Project Narrative (printed hard copy):  Comprehensive description of the nature of services, clinical spaces and scope of construction in square feet.  Any change in bed complement, service, existing facility conditions and construction phasing must be fully explained.
  • Check for Plan Review Fee:  The fee is determined according to the fee schedule included in the Plan Review Application Form.
  • Statement of Determination of Need Compliance (PDF file on disc):  Statement indicating that the project conforms to the DoN conditions, if DoN approval is required.  DoN requirements can be found at www.mass.gov/dph/don.
  • Capital Cost Estimate - Form 4* (PDF file on disc):  The cost columns under the “Approved Costs” titles are only applicable to DoN projects.
  • Floor Plans of Existing Conditions (PDF files on disc):  In the case of renovations, these floor plans must show existing licensed conditions and indicate all room functions in the vicinity of the project area.  Existing licensed conditions are intended to include spaces that have received DPH approval in the past according to licensure rules in effect at the time of design and construction.
  • Site Plan (PDF file on disc):  In the case of new construction, outside grade, parking, outdoor walkways, and path of handicapped access to the building must be shown.
  • Design Development plans (PDF file on disc):  
    • Architectural plans at a scale of at least [1/8" = 1'-0"] including function labels and numbers for all rooms, dimensions indicating the size of all rooms, widths of corridors, partition types, including widths and construction of all partitions.
    • Interior elevations, door schedule, finish schedule.
    • Site plan & exterior elevations for new buildings or new additions.
    • Preliminary mechanical, electrical and plumbing plans showing compliance with requirements listed in the right hand side column under the title “Plumbing/Mechanical/Electrical”.
  • Phasing plans (PDF files on disc) showing the scope of work within a contained area of the facility for each construction phase in renovations projects.  Each phase must be designed so as to minimize disruption of service delivery in areas of the facility which will continue operating during the construction project.  Protection barriers between construction areas and the rest of the facility must be specified.
  • Physical Plant Waiver Request Form* (PDF file on disc):  A fully completed, signed and scanned form must be submitted with an attached floor plan in 8½” x 11” format for each waiver requested.  The RTF version of the form can be used as a word processing document.

3.b. Part II Abbreviated Submission must include:

  • Written Response (printed hard copy) to the Department's Part I plan review comments, addressed to the plan reviewer who conducted the Part I review.  A detailed response must be given to each plan review comment, with reference to the specific plans that have been revised.
  • Final Construction Plans (PDF files on disc) for the proposed project, including complete architectural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing plans.
  • Phasing plans (PDF files on disc) showing the scope of work within a contained area of the facility for each construction phase in renovations projects.  Each phase must be designed so as to minimize disruption of service delivery in areas of the facility which will continue operating during the construction project.  Protection barriers between construction areas and the rest of the facility must be specified.
  • Architect's and Licensee's Affidavit* (PDF file on disc) including original architect's stamp and signatures of the Architect and Licensee.  Any waiver requests must be listed by regulation section numbers.  The RTF version of the form can be used as a word processing document.
  • Architect's Compliance Checklists* (PDF files on disc):  Checklist applicable to proposed service must be submitted for each suite, DPH or inpatient unit included in the new construction or renovation project.  The RTF version of each checklist can be used as a word processing document.
  • Physical Plant Waiver Request Form* (PDF file on disc):  A fully completed, signed and scanned form must be submitted with an attached floor plan in 8½” x 11” format for each waiver requested.  The RTF version of the form can be used as a word processing document.

4. In which format should the plans be submitted?

The plans must be submitted in electronic format as multi-page PDF files, as described below:

4.a. CAD files for the plans should be converted to PDF files without layers.

4.b. Each of the major sections (site, architectural, mechanical, electrical & plumbing) should be represented by a single multi-page PDF file that includes 100 pages or less.  If one of the major sections includes more than 100 pages, the plans should be grouped by category in two or more multi-page files (e.g. floor plans, interior elevations, architectural details).  Plans must not be submitted as individual files or as “zip files”.

4.c. Each PDF file should be optimized for fast web viewing at a 300 dpi resolution.

4.d. Each PDF file should be set for default magnification “Fit Page” and for default zoom “Dynamic Zoom”.

4.e. The PDF files should be compatible with Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional.

4.f. Each page should be bookmarked with plan number & floor location.

4.g. PDF files should be copied to CD or DVD to be labeled with project name and enclosed in a rigid clear case clipped to application packet.  

5. Which areas of an existing licensed facility must be upgraded for compliance with current licensure requirements?

Compliance with licensure requirements must be verified and documented within a given project area.  Existing licensed conditions outside of the project area will remain acceptable.  However, when bed complements are increased, facilities are expected to ensure compliance with square footage minimums and functional area requirements for all functional spaces that are required to support the additional beds.

6. If the abbreviated review process is used, when can the licensee begin construction?

Construction must not begin until the facility receives the Department's written plan approval of final construction plans.

7. What are the timelines for Department abbreviated review?

Part I - The licensee can expect a Department response within 45-60 days of a complete design development plans submission.

Part II - The licensee can expect a Department response within 30 days of a complete final plans submission.