Construction - Section 5116.1 expands and more clearly defines the role of the licensed construction supervisor (or other responsible party) stating at a minimum, the license holder, or responsible registered design professional if so employed to perform construction services, as identified on the building permit application or his/her licensed designee, shall be present on the building site to approve construction, reconstruction, alterations, removal or demolition involving the following work.

1. Foundation:

a.) Location of and excavation of foundation;

b.) Preparation of bearing material;

c.) Placement of forms and reinforcing materials (if applicable);

d.) Placing of concrete (or setting of other foundation materials)

e.) Setting weather protection methods (if required);

f.) Installation of waterproofing and/or damp proofing materials

g.) Placement of backfill.


Note. If encountered in excavating for foundation placement, the licensed construction supervisor (or reg­istered design professional) she all report the presence of ground­water to the building official and shall submit a report detailing methods of remediation.

2. Structural Frame:

a.) Installation of joists, trusses and other structural members and sheathing materials to verify size, species and grade, spacing and attachment/fastening methods (the licensed construction super­visor shall ensure that any cutting or notching of structural members is performed in accordance with requirements of this code);

b.)Setting of masonry or other structural systems (if used).

3. Energy Conservation:

a.) Installation of insulation materials, vapor and air infiltration barriers.

4. Fire Protection:

a.) Installation of smoke and heat detectors and/or systems.

5. Special Construction (including, but not limited to):

a.) Chimneys;

b.) Retaining walls over four (4) feet in height above grade.

The building official may require the license holder or his/her licensed designee (or registered design professional) to be present on the building site at other points during the construction, reconstruction, alterations, removal or demolition work as he/she deems appropriate.

Exception: Any Home Owner performing work for which a building permit is required shall be exempt from the licensing provisions of Section 5108.3.5, provided that if a Home Owner engages a person(s) for hire to do such work, that such Home Owner shall act as supervisor and shall be subject to all applicable provisions of this section. This exception shall not apply to the field erection of manufactured buildings constructed pursuant to this code and Special Regulation 780 CMR 110.R3 as listed in Chapter 110. (See definition of Homeowner in Section 5108.3.5.1.)

Note. Registered design professionals who secure building permits for and/or perform construction services for detached one-and two-family dwellings are not required to be licensed pursuant to Section 5108.3.5 provided that said registered design professional secures such permit and performs such services under the responsibilities of his/her professional registration.

At the completion of the work, prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the licensed construction supervisor, registered professional or homeowner, as applicable, shall submit a copy of the completed checklist contained in this code to the building official in verification that, to the best of his/her knowledge, the work has been executed in accordance with the provisions of this code.

Technical - The new code prescribes several new technical requirements including Section 5313.2 requiring the installation of heat detectors; Section 5313.3 requiring carbon monoxide detectors; and Section 5313.4 requiring the installation of automatic sprinklers installed in accordance with NFPA 13, 13R or 13D shall be installed in one and two family dwellings having an aggregate area greater than 14, 400 square feet including basements but not including garages and unfinished attics.

Licensing - The new code prescribes several new license requirements in 780 CMR 110.R5 for demolition, window and siding, pool construction and others; certification requirements in 780 CMR 110.R3 for dealers of manufactured building products; and changes pertaining to building official certification requirements in 780 CMR 110.R7.

6. Question: Are there other technical changes to the Seventh Edition Single and Two-Family Dwelling Code or anticipated for the Basic Code?

Answer: Yes, based on lessons learned from some recent extreme weather patterns, the Seventh Edition of both the single and two-family and basic building code has strengthened certain structural requirements.

Wind Load Zones have been revised and speeds, in some instances, increased. The new code defines zones with high wind speeds of 120 mph in the outer cape and island regions to 90 mph in the western-most part of the commonwealth.

Snow Load Zones have also been modified. Different from the Sixth (as identified below), the Seventh Edition defines ground snow loads from lows of 35 psf in the cape and islands to highs of 65 psf in the western-most part of the commonwealth.

(Sixth Edition) 3603.1.5 Basic snow load: Figures 3603.1.5a, 3603.1.5b, 3603.1.5c and 3603.1.5d define four snow load zones. The basic snow load for each zone shall be applied to the horizontal projection of sloped or flat roofs and unenclosed floor areas, as a uniformly distributed load, P, in pounds per square foot, as specified in Table 3603.1.5.

(Seventh Edition) 5301.2.3 Snow loads. Wood framed construction, cold-formed steel framed construction and masonry and concrete construction in regions with ground snow loads 70 psf (3.35 kN/m 2) or less, shall be in accordance with Chapters 5, 6 and 8. Buildings in regions with ground snow loads greater than 70 psf (3.35 kN/m 2) shall be designed in accordance with accepted engineering practice.

Table 601 requirements for Fire resistance Ratings of Building Elements has been significantly modified and some Use Group classifications have been revised. Most notably is the fact that a restaurant is considered an A-2 in the Seventh rather than an A-3 in the Sixth which may have an effect of Chapter 304 inspections.

Again, please note that the basic code will not be completed until the end of the year. Consequently, a code user will continue to use the Sixth Edition of the Code for Buildings other than single or two-family dwellings until further notice.

6. Question: What is the purchase price of the Seventh Edition of the Code for Single and Two-Family Dwellings?

Answer: The Secretary of the Commonwealth will establish a price for the official version once available. The unofficial version of the code is also available for purchase through the International Code Council (ICC) @

7. Question: What is the difference between the official and unofficial versions of the code?

Answer: The content of each code should be identical. The format, such as font or other stylistics features, may vary. As mentioned earlier, the Secretary of he State is the keeper of the records for all adopted regulations in the commonwealth. Consequently, only the Secretary of State may authorize an official record. However, since the code is based on the International Residential Code (IRC) and contains a significant amount of ICC language, the ICC, via a licensing agreement with the commonwealth, is also allowed to sell an unofficial version of the code. Designers, architects, engineers, or builders may use either version to design or construct a single or two-family home. Municipal and state building inspectors are required to use the official version of the code. Additionally, only the official version of the code may be introduced as evidence during an administrative hearing or a court trial.

It is important to note that the code is subject to change. Therefore, whether using the official or unofficial version, code users are cautioned that they must periodically check for revisions. Changes are posted on the DPS website @ Also, code users may subscribe to the Massachusetts Register, via the Secretary of the Commonwealth, to be apprised of changes to any CMR of the Commonwealth.

7. Question: When will new license categories and new exam requirements become effective?

Answer: New license categories will be phased in following a grandfathering period whereby persons already involved in activities that would now require a license will be allowed to apply for and receive a license without having to be examined. It is likely new license exams will not be administered until early next year. The existing construction supervisor license exam will be updated to the new version of the code over the next several months. A transition date for the exam will be announced shortly.

Please continue to visit the DPS website for further information about the construction supervisor license exam and Basic Building Code as the weeks progress.