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How to get a short-form permit

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You need a short-form permit for minor changes to a building. There are two ways to get a permit.

Step
1

Before you get started online

If you're doing minor work on your building, you'll need a short-form permit. Short-form permits are for jobs that do NOT change a building’s:

  • use or exits
  • fire protection, or
  • living area.
Step
2

Get your information together

Make sure you have the following documents before you start your application:

  • a full description of the work you'll be doing
  • an estimate for the total cost of your project
  • identification, including trade licenses for all contractors
  • a copy of the agreement between the contractor and homeowner (if you’re the contractor), and
  • the homeowner waiver, only if you are the homeowner and will be doing the work yourself.

You may also need to give us this information, if it applies:

  • the rodent control number for basement and groundwork
  • a health certificate for commercial food preparation, and
  • if you are working in a historic district, you need approval from the Landmark Commission.
Step
3

Complete your application

You can fill out the short-form permit application online. The system will walk you through the process. You’ll also need to upload these documents when you file online:

Step
1

Before you get started in person

If you're doing minor work on your building, you'll need a short-form permit. Short-form permits are for jobs that do NOT change a building’s:

  • use or exits
  • fire protection, or
  • living area.
Step
2

Get your information together

Make sure you have the following documents before you start your application:

  • a full description of the work you'll be doing
  • an estimate for the total cost of your project
  • identification, including trade licenses for all contractors
  • a copy of the agreement between the contractor and homeowner (if you’re the contractor), and
  • the homeowner waiver, only if you are the homeowner and will be doing the work yourself.

You may also need to give us this information, if it applies:

  • the rodent control number for basement and groundwork
  • a health certificate for commercial food preparation, and
  • if you are working in a historic district, you need approval from the Landmarks Commission.
Step
3

Visit us

Please bring all your documents and information to:

Building Division, Counter 1
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02118

Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. We're open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

You will complete your short-form application on a kiosk at our office. If needed, we will provide staff support for your application.

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