About Construction Projects in Worcester, MA
The second largest city in New England is both rooted in history and pushing toward the future. Worcester features beautiful examples of Victorian-era architecture. It is also home to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which is a leader in biotechnology.
Like most US cities, Worcester has specific rules and regulations for contractors. If you plan to do construction in Worcester, don’t start work without getting the proper permits, licenses, and insurance.
Find out what permits you need by contacting a Worcester building inspector at 25 Meade Street, by email at [email protected], or by calling 508-799-1198. In general, all new construction, major renovation, and demolition require permits.
Be mindful of zoning. Building a residence in an area zoned for retail will get you shut down fast. Check with your inspector about zoning ordinances. If you’re working on a residential building with four or more units, the inspector will check emergency lighting and exits. Take extra care with safety features and equipment.
All electrical work requires permits and safety inspections. Safety is priority number one. Your power will not be turned on until your work has passed every test.
All gas and plumbing projects need permits. Get an inspector early in the process. Have detailed plans for the work you’re going to do. Will you need a welding card? The answer is yes if you are welding high-pressure lines. For low-pressure lines, you do not need this certification.
Identify how many restrooms you need based on the type and size of the business. You will also need a certain number of accessible restrooms. In establishments with an area of 1,200 square feet or less, unisex bathrooms are allowed.
Every two years, plumbers and gas-fitters must provide a copy of their license. They also need proof of workers’ compensation insurance if they have employees. Otherwise, they should get a waiver.
There’s no such thing as a general contractor’s license in Massachusetts. You’ll need specific licenses for each aspect of the construction business, including supervising, home improvement, insulation, windows, and asbestos removal. Licenses must be renewed every two years. You can learn more about licenses at mass.gov.
Be sure that your liability insurance is up-to-date. Lack of proof of insurance is the biggest cause of delays in the permit application process. You should carry between $500,000 and $1 million in the following areas:
- Bodily injury
- Personal injury
- Property damage
- Advertising injury
- Legal defense and judgments
Also stay current with any taxes or fines you owe to the City. Delinquency will also keep you from getting a permit.
Working Above the Ground
When a job involves working with heights, don’t rely on a ladder or scaffolding. Boom lifts, scissor lifts, manlifts, and forklifts are types of aerial lifts designed to get people and equipment safely up to a work area. Consider height, width, terrain, and the number of workers when choosing an aerial lift to rent.
Contractors doing work in Worcester need to make sure that they follow these rules. It’s smart to plan, ask questions, and work closely with your inspector. Your work will be of higher quality, and you’ll stay out of trouble.